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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Federal Agents Raid Suspected Fake Schools - Foreigners on U.S. student visas allegedly paid millions but didn’t take classes

From The Wall Street Journal:

LOS ANGELES—Amid a widening crackdown on immigration fraud, federal agents on Wednesday raided a network of schools alleged to be part of a scheme to collect millions of dollars from foreigners who came to the U.S. on student visas but never studied.

Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations arrested three individuals who ran four schools in the Los Angeles area alleged to serve as a front for the purported scheme.

Hee Sun Shim, 51 years old, was arrested at his Beverly Hills home, and his alleged associates, Hyung Chan Moon and Eun Young Choi, were arrested in their offices near downtown Los Angeles.

Security concerns resurfaced in 2013 after the deadly Boston Marathon bombing. Authorities learned that Azamat Tazhayakov, who hid evidence about the attack, had entered the U.S. on a student visa that was no longer valid. Since then, the government has integrated the SEVIS database into the screening process at airports. Mr. Tazhayakov, a Kazakhstan national, was convicted last July of obstruction of justice in the bombing.

Investigators say the defendants misrepresented students on federal forms, enabling them to secure student visas in what amounted to a pay-to-stay scheme. In exchange for the so-called Form I-20, a student made “tuition” payments for up to $1,800 to “enroll” for six months in one of the schools, according to the indictment.

As part of the suspected conspiracy, the defendants allegedly created bogus student records, including transcripts, for the purpose of deceiving immigration authorities.

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