Jan 11, 1:08 PM EST

Ex-wife of former Chinese official to forfeit millions


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The ex-wife of a former Chinese official will forfeit nearly $30 million worth of California property after pleading guilty to defrauding immigration officials as part of a scheme to escape to the U.S. with stolen public funds from China.

The U.S. attorney's office announced Tuesday that Shilan Zhao falsely claimed she was still married to her ex-husband, Jianjun Qiao, to obtain U.S. visas through an immigrant investor program.

The Los Angeles Times reports (http://lat.ms/2idnsM3 ) that Zhao, a Washington state resident, also lied about the source of the money she was investing as part of the visa program.

Officials say the divorced couple bought property in the San Gabriel Valley and Washington state through fraudulent transactions at a grain storehouse in China, where Qiao was a director.

Zhao will be sentenced in November. Qiao remains a fugitive.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/

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