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Last updateSat, 20 Apr 2019 12am







    Friday, April 19, 2019-12:24:33P.M.






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Liang Li gets 2 years of probation

LIANG Li, a former notary public, was sentenced by the federal court to two years of probation for making a false statement on a U.S. passport application. As part of his probation, he will serve six months of home detention under the U.S. probation location-monitoring program.

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, at the sentencing hearing on Friday, ordered Li to perform 100 hours of community service which will be suspended if he is gainfully employed.

A naturalized U.S. citizen, Li will pay a fine of $4,000 and a special assessment fee of $100 immediately due after sentencing, the judge said.

In addition, Li will make co-payments for the location-monitoring program at a rate to be determined by the U.S. Probation Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Benedetto prosecuted the case.

In a statement after sentencing, Li’s  attorney, Janet King, said her client “notarized a DS-3053, a consent form for a U.S. passport application, on Jan. 10, 2018 and backdated it to January 8, 2018 when in fact Mr. Jian Liu, the father giving consent to his child receiving a U.S. passport, was not present.”

King said  “Li has been a notary for 10 years, and he has no criminal history whatsoever before this.”

The lawyer said her client “is not in any way a part of the so-called birth-tourism industry, and he believed strongly that his action was would correct a mistake on the form he first notarized on Jan. 8, 2018 when Jian Liu was present. However, his actions in notarizing the form again on Jan. 10, 2018 and backdating it to Jan. 8, 2018 went against his oath as a notary and was a violation of law.”

King said “Li did everything he could to pursue justice, and although he disagrees with the court’s ruling denying the withdrawal of his guilty plea, he respects the court’s sentence. Now, Mr. Li wishes to move on with his life and to focus on his family.”

Li pled guilty in April 2018 to making a false statement on a U.S. passport application. He later asked the court to grant his motion for leave to withdraw his guilty plea, saying he was pressured to plead guilty.

On Sept. 14, 2018, Judge Manglona denied his request to withdraw the guilty plea.

In the order, the judge said: “There can hardly be a defendant, no matter how strong their consciousness of guilt, who does not feel some reluctance in changing their plea to guilty.”

But to “allow a defendant who is not actually innocent, who received adequate representation, and who knew what he was doing when he pled guilty, to withdraw that plea because of regret, even deep and sincere regret, would pervert the process.”