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Case Number: 1:20-cr-00402
Judge: Naomi Reice Buchwald
Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in New York City
Description: New York City, New York criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with engaging in a multi-year scheme to bribe government officials in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (the “RMI”) to pass legislation that would benefit his business interests.
Between 2016 and 2020, Cary Yan, a/k/a "Hong Uui Yan," a/k/a "Chen Hong," sought to develop a semi-autonomous region within a part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, known as the Rongelap Atoll. The creation of the proposed semi-autonomous region was intended by YAN, ZHOU, and those associated with them to obtain business by, among other things, allowing YAN and ZHOU to attract investors to participate in economic and social development projects that YAN, ZHOU, and others promised would occur in the semi-autonomous region.
As proposed by YAN and ZHOU, the so-called Rongelap Atoll Special Administrative Region (the “RASAR”) would be created by legislation (the “RASAR Bill”) that, if enacted by the RMI legislature, would significantly change the laws on the Rongelap Atoll to attract foreign businesses and investors, such as by lowering or eliminating taxation and relaxing immigration regulations. YAN and ZHOU offered and provided a series of cash bribes and other incentives to induce RMI legislators to support the RASAR Bill. When, despite their bribes, the initial effort to pass the RASAR bill failed, YAN and ZHOU sought, unsuccessfully, to oust the then-President of the RMI, who opposed the bill. And, in 2020, following elections that resulted in a change in presidential administration, YAN and ZHOU resumed their efforts to create the RASAR. In the course of these renewed efforts, YAN and ZHOU continued to use bribery, and in March 2020, the RMI legislature passed a resolution endorsing the concept of the RASAR, with the support of legislators to whom YAN and ZHOU had provided bribes and other incentives.
In imposing a 42-month sentence on YAN today, Judge Buchwald remarked that there was “no question that bribery of public officials undermines democracy, and that it is important as a matter of general deterrence to take crimes like this seriously. And the Court does.”
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YAN, 51, and ZHOU, 35, both of whom have traveled on passports issued by the RMI, each pled guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Williams additionally thanked the Royal Thai Government, the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service, the Embassy of the United States in Bangkok, and the Justice Department's Office of International Affairs for their assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of the defendants.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hagan Scotten, Lara Pomerantz, and Derek Wikstrom are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant Chief Gerald Moody and Trial Attorney Anthony Scarpelli were also assigned to the prosecution.
18:371.F CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE THE FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT
FOREIGN SECURITIES EXCHANGES (VIOLATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT; DOMESTIC CONCERN)
15:78D.F FOREIGN SECURITIES EXCHANGES (VIOLATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT; WITHIN THE U.S.)
18:1956-4999.F MONEY LAUNDERING - FRAUD, OTHER (conspiracy)
18:1956-4999.F MONEY LAUNDERING - FRAUD, OTHER
Outcome: 05/16/2023 42 ORDER OF JUDICIAL REMOVAL as to Cary Yan. WHEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, pursuant to Section 238(c) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. § 1228(c), that the defendant shall be removed from the United States promptly upon his release from confinement, or, if the defendant is not sentenced to a term of imprisonment, promptly upon his sentencing, and that the defendant be ordered removed to the Republic of the Marshall Islands. (Signed by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on 5/16/2023) (See ORDER set forth) (ap) (Entered: 05/16/2023)
05/16/2023 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald: Sentencing held on 5/16/2023 for Cary Yan (1) Count 1. Present: AUSA Hagan Scotten, AUSA Derek Wikstrom, and Anthony Scarpelli for the Government; Edward Kim and Jonathan Bolz for Defendant Cary Yan; Defendant Cary Yan; Mandarin Translator; Court Reporter. A sentencing hearing was held before Judge Buchwald in-person on May 16, 2023. The Court sentenced Defendant Cary Yan to 42 months; two years supervised release subject to mandatory, standard, and special conditions; and a $100 special assessment. (lnl) (Entered: 05/16/2023)
Defendant was sentenced to 42 months in prison.