Chinese woman formally charged for entering Mar-a-Lago
By Danielle Haynes
Yujing Zhang, 32, faces one count of lying to a federal agent and one count of entering restricted property without permission. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo
April 12 (UPI) -- A federal grand jury on Friday formally indicted a Chinese woman for allegedly conning her way into President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Yujing Zhang, 32, faces one count of lying to a federal agent and one count of entering restricted property without permission.
Secret Service agents arrested Zhang on March 30 at Trump's Palm Beach estate. Agents said Zhang wasn't on the club's membership list, but a club manager thought she was the daughter of a member. Agents said Zhang didn't confirm if the member was her father, but assumed there may have been a language barrier and admitted her.
Once inside the club Zhang said she was there to attend a United Nations Chinese American Association but agents were summoned to the area after it was determined no such event was scheduled for that night.
Zhang allegedly told agent Samuel Ivanovich she came early to familiarize herself with the club and take photos and showed him an invitation to the event that was written in Chinese and he was unable to read.
Zhang was taken to the local Secret Service office for questioning where she said she was invited to the event by an acquaintance named "Charles" whom she knew through a Chinese social media app and denied telling the agents she was there to swim in the pool.
Authorities said she carried two Chinese passports and a flash drive containing malicious software. They later found nine thumb drives, five cellphone SIM cards and thousands of dollars in U.S. and Chinese cash in her hotel room.
Zhang's defense lawyer, Robert Adler, said she paid businessman Charles Lee $20,000 for admittance to Mar-a-Lago for an event.
During a hearing last week, Adler showed the court a flyer advertising an event with a name similar to a group Lee runs called the United Nations Chinese Friendship Association.
In court documents, Secret Service agents said there was no such event scheduled that night, despite Zhang's claim she entered Mar-a-Lago in order to take pictures and become familiar with the location prior to the event's opening later that day.