U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of California
(415) 436-7200
September 9, 2015

Six More Defendants Plead Guilty in Case Charging Leland Yee and Others with Racketeering

SAN FRANCISCO—George Nieh, Leslie Yun, Kevin Sui, Alan Chiu, Yat Wa Pau, and Andy Li all pleaded guilty today to a broad range of charges alleged against them in a superseding indictment filed January 29, 2015, announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson. The indictment charged the defendants, Leland Yee, and 21 others with illegal conduct stemming from an alleged racketeering operation. The guilty pleas bring to 10 the number of people who have pleaded guilty to one or more of the charges in the indictment. Unlike earlier pleas, today’s guilty pleas do not include an admission of guilt with respect to the charge that the defendants conspired to conduct the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) (RICO conspiracy); yet, the each defendant pleaded guilty one or more of the crimes alleged as part of the RICO conspiracy.

Each defendant, all San Francisco residents, pleaded guilty on the basis of separate individualized facts, but virtually all the facts admitted today were set out in the superseding indictment. George Nieh pleaded guilty to all the counts pending against him in the second superseding indictment with the exception of Count One, the RICO charge. The charges to which Nieh pleaded guilty include 146 counts of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956; one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841; two counts of conspiracy to receive stolen property, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 2314 and 2315; four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g); three counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841; three counts of conspiracy to traffic and trafficking contraband cigarettes, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, 2315, 2342 and 2344; and two counts of dealing firearms without a license, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a).

Leslie Yun pleaded guilty to five of the 34 counts of money laundering pending against her, two counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and three counts of conspiracy to traffic and trafficking in contraband cigarettes. Yun did not plead guilty to the remaining money laundering charges nor the RICO charge. In pleading guilty, Yun admitted she believed funds that she had received were proceeds from unlawful activities. Yun also admitted that on at least three occasions, she shipped, received, or sold contraband cigarettes for which she paid a total of more than $400,000.

Kevin Siu pleaded guilty to eight of the 24 money laundering counts pending against him. He did not plead guilty to the RICO conspiracy charge.

Alan Chiu pleaded guilty to 13 of the 36 money laundering charges pending against him. He, too, did not plead guilty to the RICO charge.

Yat Wa Pau pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to traffic and trafficking of contraband cigarettes. Pau did not plead guilty to the remaining charges pending against him which include the RICO charge; 18 counts of money laundering; and one count of manufacturing, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. As part of his guilty plea, Pau admitted he participated in two sales of contraband cigarettes for which he paid over $300,000.

Andy Li pleaded guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of dealing in firearms without a license, two counts of money laundering, and one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He did not plead guilty to the RICO charge, the remaining eighteen counts of money laundering, and one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana with intent to distribute.

The superseding indictment charged twenty-eight people in all. Eight of the defendants, including the six defendants who pleaded guilty today, Raymond Chow, and Kongphet Chanthavong, are scheduled for trial on November 2, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer. The charges against the six defendants to which they have not pleaded guilty are still pending. Judge Breyer scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, September 14, 2015, to discuss additional matters in light of the guilty pleas.

The maximum statutory penalty for participating in the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d), is a 20 years of imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, plus restitution. The maximum penalty for money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956, is 20 years’ imprisonment plus $500,000; the maximum penalty for conspiracy to distribute, distribution and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841 or § 846, is 20 years and a $1,000,000 fine; the maximum penalty for conspiracy to receive stolen property, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 2314 and 2315, is five years and $250,000; the maximum penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), is 10 years and $250,000; the maximum penalty for conspiracy to traffic and trafficking contraband cigarettes, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, 2315, 2342 and 2344, is five years and $250,000; the maximum penalty for dealing firearms without a license, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a), is five years and $250,000. Additional periods of supervised release and additional fines and assessments may apply. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Frentzen, Susan Badger, and S. Waqar Hasib are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rosario Calderon, Kurk Kosek, Ana Guerra, Marina Ponomarchuk, Victoria Etterer, and Lance Libatique. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; San Francisco Police Department Gang Task Force; Oakland Police Department; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; New York Police Department; and the Mercer County New Jersey Sheriff’s Office.

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