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Feds Raid California Maternity Hotels for Birth Tourists

Article author: 
Andrew Blankstein, Anna R. Schecter and Tracy Connor
Article publisher: 
NBC News
Article date: 
January 11, 2018
Article category: 
National News
Medium
Article Body: 
Southern California apartment complexes that doubled as "maternity hotels" for Chinese women who want made-in-America babies were raided early Tuesday, capping an unprecedented federal sting operation, officials said.
 
NBC News was on the scene as Homeland Security agents swept into The Carlyle, a luxury property in Irvine, California, which housed pregnant women and new moms who allegedly forked over $40,000 to $80,000 to give birth in the United States. ...
 
...  the investigation was aimed at ringleaders who pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars tax-free to help Chinese nationals obtain visas and then pamper them until they delivered in an American hospital at a discount, court papers show.
 
"It's not necessarily illegal to come here to have the baby, but if you lie about your reasons for coming here, that's visa fraud," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations for Los Angeles.
 
All told, the feds raided 20 locations in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, targeting three competing birth tourism schemes, officials said....
 
They were funneled to several Orange County hospitals to deliver, but they didn't pay full price — approximately $25,000 ... Instead, they got reduced rates for the indigent, ranging from nothing to $4,000 ...

That translated into big losses for the hospitals. More than 400 babies linked to the scheme were born at just one facility in a two-year period ...

 
The fraud, authorities say, went beyond the visas....
 

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