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Ex-JFK INS agent swindled Chinese: Feds

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A former INS agent based out of Kennedy Airport accused of using his knowledge of the system to steal $1 million from immigrants seeking help to bring relatives into the United States from China was on trial in federal court in Brooklyn.

Tin Yat Chin, 45, a Chinese immigrant who has U.S. citizenship, allegedly posed as a lawyer and an Immigration and Naturalization Services employee to convince people he could obtain work visas, jobs and even green cards for their relatives, said Pat Pileggi, chief of the Public Integrity Sector for the Eastern District of the U.S. attorney’s office.

“The government is alleging that Tin Yat Chin told many Asian immigrants that he could get family members into the U.S.,” Pileggi said. “They gave their very hard-earned money to him.”

Chin’s trial started in federal court Jan. 7, and Pileggi expects the trial to continue through next week, she said.

Chin is charged with impersonating an INS employee and three counts of tax evasion, and if convicted of all charges Chin could face 20 years in prison, Pileggi said.

Chin, who used two aliases and worked out of Brooklyn offices, had been a legitimate INS inspector at Kennedy Airport from 1988 to 1993, when he was arrested for stealing money and valuables from Chinese immigrants as they entered the country, Pileggi said.

The government alleges that Chin charged his victims, mostly women who earned the money in laundromats and sweatshops, between $25,000 and $30,000 for his assistance in bringing family members into the country, Pileggi said.

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