Man falsely promotes US citizenship through 'special' army unit, prosecutors say

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Los Angeles County prosecutors have charged a Chinese national with falsely offering immigrants a path to US citizenship through enlistment in a bogus army unit. Authorities picked up the suspect today.

Court papers say the man promoted his outfit as a special forces branch of which he was “supreme commander.”

The LA County district attorney’s office maintains that the only thing special about this unit was that it wasn’t real — and that the suspect, 51-year-old Yupeng David Deng of El Monte, commanded only the $350-$400 he charged each recruit for initiation, plus $120 for annual renewal.

Prosecutors say that in return, Deng promised that membership in his US Army/Military Special Forces Reserve unit would lead to legal American citizenship. About 100 Chinese immigrants bought in, prosecutors say, and phony uniforms and documents are all they got. That, and an opportunity to march in a Monterey Park parade. Deng got a trip to jail.

He's scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment hearing on Wednesday. If a jury convicts him, he faces more than eight years in state prison.