Dongyuan Li's business was called "You Win USA," and authorities say she coached pregnant Chinese women on how to get into the United States to deliver babies who would automatically enjoy all the benefits of American citizenship. Over two years, the now-41-year-old raked in millions through her business, where mothers-to-be paid between $40,000 and $80,000 each to come to California, stay in an upscale apartment and give birth, authorities said. Li, who was arrested Thursday, is one of 20 people charged in the first federal crackdown on birth tourism businesses that prosecutors said brought hundreds of pregnant women to the United States, the AP reports. Jing Dong, 42, and Michael Wei Yueh Liu, 53, who allegedly operated "USA Happy Baby," also were arrested.
All three pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges including conspiracy, visa fraud and money laundering, according to a spokesman for the US Attorney's office in Los Angeles. More than a dozen others, including the operator of a third such business, also face charges but are believed to have returned to China, prosecutors say. While it isn't illegal to visit the United States while pregnant, authorities say the businesses—which were raided by federal agents in 2015—touted the benefits of having US citizen babies, who could get free public education and years later help their parents immigrate.They also allegedly had women hide their pregnancies while seeking travel visas and lie about their plans. (President Trump says he plans to end birthright citizenship.)