Fake University Set Up By US Immigration And Customs
A fake university was set up by the Department of Homeland Security to lure suspects alleged to have recruited undocumented immigrants who wanted to use student visas to stay in the US.
Eight suspects were; arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harboring undocumented immigrants for profit.
It is thought the group helped at least 600 foreign citizens enroll in the fake university in exchange for cash, according to an indictment.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency established the fictional college, the University of Farmington in Detroit, Michigan, in 2015, as part of an undercover operation.
The University was; not staffed with instructors/educators, it had no curriculum, no actual classes nor any educational activities being; conducted therein,’ the indictment stated.
The alleged students who enrolled ‘knew that they would not attend any actual classes, earn credits or make academic progress towards an actual degree,’ but did so to remain in the country, the indictment continued.
Recruiters, who allegedly conspired with each other from 2017 onwards, collectively received $250,000 in cash and kickbacks.
They supposedly discovered foreign nationals to attend the university; and facilitated them in illegally remaining and working in the country, the government alleges.
Yet unbeknownst to the conspirators the college was; operated by Homeland Security Investigations.
The U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan said in a statement: ‘We are all aware that international students can be a valuable asset to our country, but as this case shows, the well-intended international student visa program can also be exploited and abused.’
The suspected recruiters were; identified as Bharath Kakireddy, 29, of Lake Mary, Florida; Aswanth Nune, 26, of Atlanta; Suresh Reddy Kandala, 31, of Culpeper, Virginia; Phanideep Karnati, 35, of Louisville, Kentucky; Prem Kumar Rampeesa, 26, of Charlotte, North Carolina; Santosh Reddy Sama, 28, of Fremont, California; Avinash Thakkallapally, 28, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Naveen Prathipati, 29, of Dallas.
Federal agents also arrested dozens of University of Farmington students for immigration violations in a nationwide sweep on Wednesday – with those apprehended facing possible deportation, according to a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.