- Associated Press - Thursday, May 25, 2017

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Federal authorities have filed a series of lawsuits that seek to seize property bought with proceeds from an alleged visa fraud scheme by a Los Angeles-area business.

The U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement Thursday that the lawsuits seek the forfeiture of nine properties across Southern California by the California Investment Immigration Fund in San Gabriel. They include one commercial property, five houses and three parcels of land across Southern California.

Last month federal authorities raided the business, alleging it was cheating a visa program to obtain green cards for wealthy Chinese investors, and had used it to raise more than $50 million.

Under the U.S. government program, foreign investors who commit at least half a million dollars to job-creating projects in designated areas can apply to obtain green cards. In this case, the California fund sought green cards for more than 100 Chinese investors for construction projects that were never built, according to federal court filings.

Authorities allege that some of the $50 million raised through the scheme was refunded to investors while their immigration applications were pending or used to buy personal homes for Victoria Chan, an attorney, and her father Tat Chan, who purportedly ran the fund.

The lawsuits filed Wednesday seek to seize that property from the Chans.

A message left at the fund’s office seeking comment was not immediately returned.

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