13 Jun 2017
- By Bryan Manabat – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona on Monday sentenced businessman Richard Peng to six months in jail and one year of supervised release for his involvement in a birth-tourism scheme on Saipan.
The judge also ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine and perform 80 hours of community work service.
The court likewise ordered Peng to report to the U.S. Marshals Service on Wednesday.
In his sentencing statement during the court proceeding, Peng said he was sorry that he broke the law.
“I did not really mean to do that,” he said, adding that it was difficult to say no to his business partner at that time.
Peng, also known as Pai Teng or Tong-Long Peng, was charged with one count of harboring illegal aliens which carries a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment.
Peng, through his attorney Michael Dotts, pled guilty on Aug. 4, 2016 as part of a plea deal with the U.S. government.
In that plea deal, Peng revealed a birth-tourism scheme on Saipan that used a farm to house pregnant women.
Peng said it was his then-business partner in a noodle restaurant that was running a birth-tourism scheme on the side.
Peng said his then-business partner made his property in As Lito available to house pregnant Chinese women.
For his part, Peng allowed a pregnant Chinese woman to stay in his residence after the woman’s conditional parole expired so she wouldn’t be detected by immigration authorities.
Dotts recommended a six-month sentence for the defendant, saying that his client had no previous criminal record.
Peng has also accepted responsibility for his offense, and helped identify his former business partner to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Dotts said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Benedetto said Peng was trying to minimize his role in the case but also recommended a six-month jail term for the defendant.
After the hearing, Dotts said his client cooperated with the U.S. government and was sentenced at the low end of the sentencing guidelines.
Peng is a naturalized U.S. citizen, his lawyer added.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/96015-businessman-in-birth-tourism-case-gets-6-months