Feds attempt to have lots forfeited
by Mindy Aguon
The federal government is attempting to have more than a dozen properties forfeited as Immigration and Customs officials continue their investigation into a local company accused of have illegal H-2 workers work on construction sites around the island.
The federal government is attempting to have 13 properties in Ordot-Chalan Pago and Mangilao registered to Kehan Zhou forfeited. According to court documents, the feds allege the lots should be forfeited as they contend they were obtained through the proceeds of alien smuggling, wire fraud, fraud in foreign labor contracting and money laundering.
Attached to the complaint was a declaration from U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Avery Cepeda, who details the alleged criminal activity Zhou's ex-husband, Steven Wang, and their company, Hua Sheng International, were involved in.
Zhou is listed as the owner of Omi, the building in Harmon that was raided by federal authorities last month. It's the same location where authorities picked up several men believed to be H-2 workers whose visas have already expired, but were being forced to work at various construction sites around the island for Wang.
While the feds have yet to charge Wang with any criminal charges the special agent's declaration clearly outlines a pattern of illegal activity. But Zhou, through Attorney Rawlen Mantanona, asserts that the feds lack probable cause to forfeit her property.
According to the verified answer to the Complaint of Forfeiture, Zhou says the U.S. Government lacks sufficient probable cause to show that the 13 lots were derived from proceeds obtained directly or indirectly from criminal acts such as fraud in foreign labor contracting, visa fraud, and money laundering.