California woman pleads guilty in ‘birth tourism’ scheme

September 17, 2019 GMT

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A woman who ran a Southern California “birth tourism” business that charged Chinese clients to help them give birth in the United States has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud.

Dongyuan Li of Irvine also pleaded guilty to federal visa fraud Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Li, a Chinese national, was among 19 people charged with operating a company that helped wealthy Chinese citizens and even government officials give birth in America so their children would be U.S. citizens.

The indictment said Li used 20 apartments in Irvine to house pregnant clients, who were charged up to $80,000.


Clients were coached on how to lie on visa applications, hide their pregnancies during customs checks and pass U.S. consulate interviews in China.

Li could face 15 years in federal prison.