- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - Two Southern California men who submitted hundreds of phony U.S. asylum applications for Chinese citizens have been sentenced to federal prison.

The U.S. attorney’s office says Haoren Ma was sentenced last week to 4 ½ years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy, immigration document fraud and identity theft.

Ma’s employee, Minghan Dong, was sentenced Monday to a year and a day for conspiracy.

Federal authorities say the men, working through Ma’s business in San Gabriel, charged up to $6,500 to prepare asylum applications containing phony claims of religious persecution.

The men were arrested in 2011.

Authorities say the men were linked to more than 800 asylum applications filed since 2000.