Arizona Man Arrested Near Casper Faces Trial on Forgery Charges
A man who said he became a naturalized citizen and changed his name last year will face trial on forgery-related charges, a Natrona County Circuit Court judge said Monday.
Dugen Huang, 39, was bound over for trial in district court on charges of possession of forged writings and possession of devices to make forgeries, Judge Michael Patchen ruled at the end of a one-and-a-half-hour preliminary hearing.
The long hearing was partly a result of the need for a translator because Huang's native language is Mandarin, although he knows English.
Patchen agreed with Assistant District Attorney Ava Bell to keep Huang's bond at $20,000 because of a concern he may leave Wyoming, and the question remains about his identity, he said. "The court is not saying Huang is not giving accurate information, but there are too many questions that need [answering]."
Huang's public defender Joseph Cole unsuccessfully argued that the bond should be lowered to $5,000. If he is released on bond, he will need to find a place in Casper to stay and he will need his identification which was seized during his arrest on April 11, Cole added.
Cole said Huang told him he became a naturalized citizen in Phoenix in November and changed his name to Xuyan Chen.
The alleged crimes and identity confusion began April 11 when Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Brandon Deckert stopped Huang for speeding on Wyoming Highway 220 southwest of Casper.
Deckert, the prosecution's only witness during the preliminary hearing, said he asked for the man's identification and he produced an Arizona driver's license with the name Xuyan Chen.
When Deckert ran the Chen name through the National Crime Information Center database, he found the same number on the driver's license but a different name -- Dugen Huang, he said. "That was very confusing to me."
Deckert asked Chen if he knew who Huang was, and Chen said no.
The trooper said he found other identification in the in car: an Ohio identification card with the name Chen; another Arizona driver's license with Huang's name and that driver's license was issued the same day as Chen's; a Chinese passport with Chen's name, a Chinese passport with Huang's name, and a U.S. passport with Huang's name.
One of the photos on one identification did not match Huang, Deckert said.
Deckert also found a stack of about 10 college diplomas, a bag full of about 50 identification stamps, and embossing equipment presumably from China, he said.
After Deckert advised Huang of his Miranda rights, Huang said the diplomas were for degrees he earned in China.
He later said he forged them for his use and for other people.
When asked about the stamps, Huang said they were fraudulent and used to create the diplomas. An image with the seal of China on one of the passports also appeared to be from a stamp in the bag, Deckert said.
The trooper also found a stack of credit cards, he said.
Deckert arrested Huang.
The various forms of identification, diplomas, stamps, and credit cards were logged into evidence, and Deckert said the Wyoming Highway Patrol will turn the evidence over to the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and possibly the U.S. Secret Service.
Under cross-examination by Cole, Deckert said he thought the driver's license was valid and he didn't know if Huang was, in fact, Chen.
Deckert also told Cole that he didn't know if the passports were valid; whether Huang was a U.S. citizen; when, where or why the diplomas were made; if the stamps were legitimate; or if the credit cards were valid.
Regarding the word "forged," Deckert said that probably was his word, and Cole responded that Huang may have meant "created."
During his closing argument, Cole said there was no probable cause that Huang intended to defraud someone by using the name of another person without authorization and there was no evidence that the diplomas were made in Wyoming; that the prosecution had not identified any document that was forged; and that the possession of the stamps was not illegal and would be only illegal if they were used to deceive someone.
Patchen agreed with Cole that there was no evidence that the diplomas were made in Wyoming and dismissed that count, but agreed with the prosecution that Huang knew the diplomas were forged and admitted the stamps were used for forgery.