A woman carrying two Chinese passports and a device with computer malware allegedly lied to enter US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club.
The woman, Yujing Zhang, 32, told security she was at the Florida club to go to the pool, according to a criminal complaint filed in US District Court.
"Due to a potential language barrier issue," staff believed she was related to a club member and let her in.
Mr Trump was in Palm Beach at the time of the incident on Saturday 30 March.
Ms Zhang - who was described in the affidavit as an "Asian female" - is charged with making false statements to a federal officer and illegally entering a restricted area.
According to the court documents, upon entry to the club Ms Zhang changed her story, telling a front-desk receptionist she was there to attend a "United Nations Chinese American Association" event.
The receptionist, who knew that such event had been scheduled, became suspicious of Ms Zhang.
The suspect was transported off the property for further questioning.
She told agents she had been instructed by a friend, identified only as "Charles", to travel from Shanghai, China, to Palm Beach to attend the purported United Nations event, but did not provide any more details, according to court documents.
The Chinese national who bluffed her way past two Secret Service details at President Trump’s Mar-a-Largo resort was carrying a thumb drive loaded with malware and a trove of other spy gear, authorities said Monday.
Now the FBI is investigating whether Yujing Zhang, 33, is an agent of the Chinese government.
“She lies to everyone she encounters,” Assistant US Attorney Rolando Garcia said during Zhang’s bond hearing Monday.
“Her ties are all in China.’’
Zhang was busted at Mar-a-Largo on March 30, after giving conflicting reasons for being there during one of Trump’s routine weekend visits, officials said. The president was off golfing at the time.
Just two days earlier, she had arrived in Newark, NJ, on a flight from Shanghai — and entered the country on a B-1 business visa.
Zhang told investigators that she is an investor and consultant in China who hoped to promote Chinese-American business relations while at Mar-a-Largo.
She was successful in China, she said — owning a $1.3 million home and BMW there.
The Chinese woman who was arrested at Mar-a-Lago after being caught with nine USB drives and a thumb drive with malware says she paid $20,000 to attend an event at the president's Palm Beach estate.
The suspected spy is not the only citizen of the People's Republic who has shelled out many yuan for the privilege of being at the Winter White House - in what could become a nightmare for the Secret Service.
The number of Chinese tourists willing to pay anywhere from $13,000 to $20,000 a ticket to events at Mar-a-Lago - tickets that usually go for $1,000 a pop - has escalated to the point that the shindigs often look more like a Peking soiree than a charity ball at the president's enclave and private club.
Palm Beach party planner Lexye Aversa tells DailyMail.com: 'The presence of many Chinese is simply 'the new normal.'
Yujing Zhang, the Chinese woman arrested trying to enter Mar-a-Lago, made an 8,500-mile journey to President Donald Trump’s private social club, saying she wished to attend a charity gala.
But Zhang knew before leaving China that the function had been canceled, according to a source close to the investigation of the security breach at Mar-a-Lago.
She had even requested a refund from event promoters for a $20,000 travel package that included a ticket to the canceled March 30 benefit, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing national-security probe.
The information, revealed after a search of her electronic devices by federal agents, could undercut the defense’s argument that she was being truthful when she told U.S. Secret Service agents she was at Mar-a-Lago for a scheduled function.
President Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump reportedly had a verbal disagreement while having dinner at Mar-a-Lago three weeks ago on March 30, People reports.
An eyewitness told that outlet that "Melania was upset and they had words with each other over something," though the source added that it wasn't clear what the first couple was allegedly arguing over.
During their public tiff, first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, were dining several tables away.
Despite the eyewitness account, Melania's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, called the report "completely false."
"I'd encourage the anonymous source to say such things on the record," she added.