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Date: 04-17-2019

Case Style:

United States of America v. Ying Lin

Case Number: 1:15-cr-00601-AMD

Judge: Ann M. Donnelly

Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Kings County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: Douglas M. Pravda, Alexander A. Solomon, Ian C. Richardson, Sarah M. Evans, Matthew R. Walczewski, Brian Morris

Defendant's Attorney: Deborah Austern Colson and Jill R. Shellow


Brooklyn, NY - Former Manager for International Airline Pleads Guilty to Acting as an Agent of the Chinese Government
Defendant Placed Packages on Flights from JFK Airport to Beijing at the Direction of Military Officers Assigned to the Chinese Mission to the United Nations

Ying Lin pleaded guilty to acting as an agent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), without notification to the Attorney General, by working at the direction and control of military officers assigned to the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations. Lin, a former manager with an international air carrier headquartered in the PRC (the Air Carrier), abused her privileges to transport packages from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK Airport) to the PRC aboard Air Carrier flights at the behest of the PRC military officers and in violation of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations.

“This case is a stark example of the Chinese government using the employees of Chinese companies doing business here to engage in illegal activity,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Covertly doing the Chinese military’s bidding on U.S. soil is a crime, and Lin and the Chinese military took advantage of a commercial enterprise to evade legitimate U.S. government oversight.”

“The defendant’s actions as an agent of the Chinese government helped Chinese military officers to evade U.S. law enforcement scrutiny of packages that they sent from New York to Beijing,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This case demonstrates how seriously we address counterintelligence threats posed by individuals in the United States who work for foreign governments, such as China.”

“The FBI and our law enforcement partners do all we can every day to protect this country from the threats we can see, and we work even harder to find the threats we can’t see,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Ms. Lin was secreting packages through some of the country's busiest airports, using her work with the Chinese government to thwart our security measures. We believe this case isn’t unique and hope it serves as an example that the Chinese and other foreign governments can't break our laws with impunity.”

“Lin’s criminal actions exploited the international boundary of the United States as she used her position to smuggle packages onto planes headed to China,” said HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez. “We are committed to ensuring the integrity of our international airports so they are not used as a front for illicit activities.”

Lin worked for the Air Carrier from 2002 through the fall of 2015 as a counter agent at JFK Airport and from the fall of 2015 through April 2016 as the station manager at Newark Liberty International Airport. During her employment with the Air Carrier, Lin accepted packages from the PRC military officers, and placed those packages aboard Air Carrier flights to the PRC as unaccompanied luggage or checked in the packages under the names of other passengers flying on those flights. As the PRC military officers did not travel on those flights, Lin’s actions were contrary to a security program that required that checked baggage be accepted only from ticketed passengers, thereby violating TSA regulations. In addition, Lin encouraged other Air Carrier employees to assist the PRC military officers, instructing those employees that because the Air Carrier was a PRC company, their primary loyalty should be to the PRC.

In exchange for her work at the direction and under the control of PRC military officers and other PRC government officials, Lin received benefits from the PRC Mission and PRC Consulate in New York. These benefits included tax-exempt purchases of liquor, cigarettes and electronic devices worth tens of thousands of dollars. These benefits also included free contracting work at the defendant’s two residences in Queens, New York, by PRC construction workers who were permitted under the terms of their visas to work only on PRC government facilities.

When sentenced, Lin faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment. As part of the guilty plea, Lin agreed to forfeit approximately $25,000 as well as an additional $145,000 in connection with her resolution of the government’s forfeiture verdict in United States v. Zhong, No. 16-CR-614 (AMD).

Mr. Demers and Mr. Donoghue expressed their appreciation to the Transportation Security Administration for their assistance on the case.


18:951(a) and 3551 et seq. - Acting as an Agent of a Foreign Government Without Prior Notification to the Attorney General
18:1349 and 3551 et seq. - Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud
18:1349 and 3551 et seq. - Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud.
18:1512(c)(2), 2 and 3551 et seq. - Obstruction of Justice
18:1512(c)(2), 2and 3551 et seq. - Obstruction of Justice.
18:1512(k) and 3551 et seq. - Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice
18:1512(k)and 3551 et seq. - Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice.
21:5324(a)(3) and 5324(d)(1); 18:2 and 3551 et seq. - Structuring Financial Transcations
31:5324(a)(3) and 5324(d)(1); 18:2 and 3551 et seq. - Structuring Financial Transactions.

Outcome: Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Ann M. Donnelly: Change of Plea Hearing as to Ying Lin held on 4/17/2019. Appearances by AUSA Douglas Pravda, AUSA Ian Richardson, and AUSA Sara Evans. Deborah Colson (Retained) for defendant Lin (present on bond). John Lau, Mandarin interpreter present. Case called. Defendant sworn, informed of rights, and waives trial before the District Court. Defendant Ying Lin enters a guilty plea count 1ss. The Court accepts the guilty plea.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:


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