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Warrants served for “Come to USA to give birth” tour packagers

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Investigators today served search warrants at about two dozen locations in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties targeting so-called maternity tourism schemes, authorities said.

Among the targets of searches were apartment complexes in Irvine, Rowland Heights and Walnut where, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, authorities suspect that the maternity tourism businesses may have housed foreign clients. The Orange County operation allegedly branded itself as “You Win USA Vacation Resort.”

“Such businesses provide travel and lodging services to pregnant foreign nationals interested in coming to the United States to give birth so their offspring will be American citizens,” Virginia Kice of ICE said in a statement.

Kice said this morning‚Äôs operation was designed to gather “further evidence related to a variety of possible criminal violations, including visa and tax fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy.”

The searches were authorized based upon sealed affidavits filed in court last week, Kice said.

According to ICE:
— Authorities allege the maternity tourism businesses targeted in today‚Äôs enforcement actions catered largely to women from China who paid anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 depending on the services offered.

— The fees cover lodging, transportation, and food, but do not include medical care. Based on the results of the investigations to date, it appears the women paid cash for pre-natal visits and the actual delivery.

— As part of the “package,” clients were promised that they would receive Social Security numbers and U.S. passports for their infants, which the mothers would take with them when they left this country.

— The businesses used websites, newspaper ads and social media to promote their services.

— A business based in Rancho Cucamonga went by the name “USA Happy¬†Baby, Inc.”

One of the locations that was searched was The Carlyle, an apartment complex in Irvine.“Our management company, Legacy Partner, is fully cooperating with the federal authorities regarding the ongoing investigation,” Eric Rose, a spokesman for The Carlyle, said.

Agencies involved in the enforcement actions included: ICE Homeland Security Investigations; the Internal Revenue Service; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service; the Los Angeles Airport Police Department; the Irvine Police Department; and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

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Warrants served for
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Investigators today served search warrants at about two dozen locations in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties targeting so-called maternity tourism schemes, authorities said.
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