One owner of a phony California university, a visa mill for foreign students, has just been sent to jail for 16 years, while the owner of another questionable institution nearby is finally about to go on trial.
The two institutions, both in the San Francisco Bay area are, respectively, Tri-Valley University — which was raided and then closed by ICE in a rare example of enforcement assertiveness — and Herguan University, also raided by ICE, but permitted to re-open, as we have reported in earlier, including here.
Both are, or were, unaccredited for-profit entities owned by people of Chinese descent who preyed on (and conspired with) largely Indian "students". That unaccredited, for-profit institutions such as these can issue the I-20 form, which leads to F-1 student visas, is one of the failures of our current immigration system. The "students" at these places are attracted by and willing to pay for the visas, which allow them to enter and stay in the United States.
The long jail sentence was laid on the owner of Tri-Valley. She is Dr. Susan Xiao-Ping Su, who worked for Herguan before founding Tri-Valley. In addition to the jail time, District Judge Jon S. Tiger ordered that she forfeit $5.6 million in profits from her operation. Dr. Su's attorneys have appealed, but in the meantime she is in detention, as she has been since the raid. An AP story carries more on the case.
Herguan, which is owned by the Wang family, was raided by ICE two years ago. Its CEO and president, Dr. Jerry Wang, was charged with visa fraud, conspiracy to commit visa fraud, unauthorized access to a government computer, use of false documents, and aggravated identity theft, all in connection with foreign students and their F-1 visas.
Herguan and Dr. Wang, for reasons not immediately apparent, were treated differently by the government than Tri-Valley and Dr. Su. ICE did not close Herguan and the judge did not jail Dr. Wang, who has been free on bail for the last two years.
Dr. Wang's trial is set for November 17, but there have been postponements in the past.
One of the noteworthy elements of this situation is that the Department of Homeland Security has decided that Dr. Wang's university is capable of educating foreign students, presumably using English as the language of instruction, while another arm of the government, the district court, permits this university president to have a Mandarin interpreter to help him in the courtroom. For more on this arrangement and more than one hundred other filings in this case, the PACER (the federal courts' electronic documents system) file is 5:12-cr-00581-EJD.