The Department of Justice expanded charges against a Stanford University researcher accused of working on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army.
“A federal grand jury issued a superseding indictment charging Chen Song with visa fraud, obstruction of justice, destruction of documents, and false statements in connection with a scheme to conceal and lie about her status as a member of the People’s Republic of China’s military forces while in the United States, the Justice Department announced yesterday,” the department noted in a February 19th press release.
“When Song feared discovery, she destroyed documents in a failed attempt to conceal her true identity. This prosecution will help to protect elite institutions like Stanford from illicit foreign influences,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) adds.
Beyond hiding her ties to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and engaging in Visa fraud while doing so, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) discovered that Song “took active steps to destroy evidence of her official affiliation with the Chinese military.”
Among the three documents destroyed were letters, photographs, and resumes:
- A digital version of a letter from Song, written in Chinese and addressed to the People’s Republic of China consulate in New York, in which Song explained that her stated employer, “Beijing Xi Diaoyutai Hospital” was a false front, and that because relevant approval documents were classified, she had attempted to mail them;
- An image of Song’s PLA credentials, with a photograph of her in military dress uniform, covering the time period from July 2016 to July 2020; and
- A digital version of a resume for Song, written in Chinese, again with a photograph of her in military dress uniform and listing her employer as the Air Force General Hospital.
“If convicted, she faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the visa fraud count; up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each of the obstruction and alteration charges; and up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the false statements charge. In addition, the court may order additional terms of supervised release,” the DOJ adds.