Georgia Tech professor Gee-Kung Chang faces accusations of abusing the J-1 Visa program to bring Chinese nationals into the U.S.
Along with 73-year-old Chang, ZTE USA Research Director Jianjun Yu, 53, stands accused of fraudulently bringing in workers using Kang’s access to the J-1 Visa program. ZTE is a partly state-owned Chinese telecommunications and IT company.
Investigators say Chang may have used his position to obtain and maintain the visas. In the paperwork, incoming Chinese citizens would allegedly claim to be coming to work with Chang — while instead heading to work at ZTE USA in New Jersey.
“The defendants allegedly abused the visa program and deceived Georgia Tech to bring researchers into the United States,” Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said in a statement. “The charges presented are the first step toward holding them accountable.”
“Schemes like this not only steal invaluable opportunities from legitimate, hard-working students it also allows scammers to come to the United States and profit from their misdeeds,” Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger said. “Identifying, arresting, and prosecuting violators is vital to protect the integrity of our nation’s visa program.”
The J-1 and similar visa programs have been targets for abuse and manipulation in the past. In August 2019, Breitbart’s Neil Munro reported on the J-1’s use by companies such as McDonald’s, Holiday Inn, Food Lion, and Disney to bring in approximately 100,000 low-wage, low-tax seasonal workers annually.
In a speech at Georgia Tech in December 2020, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts at “poisoning the well” to use “higher education institutions for its own ends.”
Chang and Yu were indicted by a federal grand jury on federal charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud on March 18, 2021. Assistant U.S. Attorney Samir Kaushal is prosecuting the case.
“The United States welcomes academics and researchers from across the globe,” Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Chris Hacker said. “But we cannot allow anyone to exploit our benevolence. That’s what these defendants are accused of doing and now they will be judged.”