A Chinese national allegedly started a phony Army special forces unit, and recruited 100 Chinese nationals to sell them false documents and uniforms, convincing them signing up was a path to citizenship.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies arrested Yupeng Deng (aka David Deng) Tuesday morning, according to Deputy District Attorney Richard Ceballos. Bail for Deng, a 51-year-old El Monte resident, has been set at $500,000.
Deng allegedly gave himself the title of "supreme commander" of the unauthorized military unit, which he named the U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve unit ("MSFR"). Deng is believed to have created the phony unit in October 2008.
He allegedly charged each recruit initiation fees ranging from $300 to $450 with renewal fees set at $120 each year. Recruits could increase their rank in the "MSFR" by making cash donations to the defendant, according to Ceballos.
Deng is believed to have provided each recruit with phony U.S. Army uniforms, fake documents, and fraudulent military ID cards.
The recruits were also instructed to report to the defendant's office in Temple City, which was decorated to look like an official U.S. military recruiting center, to undergo military training and indoctrination. These recruits even marched in a parade in Monterey Park and took a tour of the USS Midway museum in San Diego while dressed in the fake uniforms.
Deng has been charged with 13 counts of theft by false pretenses, manufacturing deceptive government documents, and counterfeit of an official government seal.
If convicted as charged, he faces up to eight years, four months in state prison. In a separate case, Deng was charged on April 6 with one count of possession of child pornography, which could bring him three years in state prison.