SAN FRANCISCO—A federal grand jury added more charges against Chen Song, 39, to include visa fraud, obstruction of justice, destruction of documents and making false statements regarding an attempt 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, federal prosecutors said in a press statement.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in an indictment that Song is an active member of the Chinese military and possesses credentials issued by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) through the Chinese-based “Air Force General Hospital Political Department.”
Song developed a plan, the indictment said, to acquire a non-immigrant visa to enter America. But to get the visa, the indictment indicated she had to conceal her ties to the Chinese government.
“In that application, Song described herself in her visa application as a neurologist who was coming to the U.S. to conduct research at Stanford University related to brain disease,” the authorities said.
According to the indictment, Song was asked if she ever served in the military, and she said “yes.” When asked what her highest rank in the military was, the indictment said Song answered “student” and that her last day of service was “June 30, 2011.”
“She did not state that she was an active member of the PLA, did not state her rank in the military, and did not state that she was employed by Air Force General Hospital (AFGH), Air Force Military Medical University, Fourth Military Medical University, or any other military-affiliated entity, anywhere on her visa application,” read the indictment.
Once Song arrived in San Francisco on the fraudulently obtained visa, the indictment noted she received money from the Chinese Scholarship Council, which was $1,000 per month. “On multiple occasions,” the indictment reads, “Song sent updates to China Scholarship Council detailing the nature, results, and value of her research work at Stanford.”
Once Song realized she was being investigated by American authorities, the indictment noted she destroyed emails, documents, and other evidence that tied her to China.
For example, the indictment stated that authorities found a folder on Song’s computer, “The pathname of this folder was ‘D:\chen song\2018,’ which roughly translated from Chinese is ‘2018 Visiting Scholar Important Information,’” the indictment read.
According to authorities, this folder contained records and documents related to visa fraud, including records and documents that verified her membership with the PLA and her “true employment at AFGH.”
When the FBI interviewed Song, authorities say she lied to them about her connections with the PLA after she allegedly left in 2011. Investigators looked at the PLA’s website and explained in the indictment that information about Song’s tenure with the neurology personnel “began to disappear.”
Song’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 12, 2021. If convicted, Song faces up to 35 years in prison for all the charges against her, and a fine of $250,000 for making false statements.