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US visa fraud! Deportation or jail for Indian students, others?

Nearly 1,000 foreign students, including Chinese and Indians, who had been a willing participant in the “pay to stay” scheme are in for trouble. They had been lured in by Federal agents through a fake university called “University of Northern New Jersey” and their plans of sticking in the US beyond their permitted legal study time has been dashed to smithereens , rather they may face jail or deportation. Their dreams of making it big have shattered and they have landed themselves in a judicial soup.

Unknown to hundreds of students from all over the world who were planning to get to States, US officials set up a fraudulent university and caught about 21 suspects on charges of felony and visa fraud. The officials staged an “undercover operation” of creating this fake university to catch those people who were said to be involved in the visa fraud racket. Will it be years and years in prison for them? According to Paul Fishman, a New Jersey US Attorney, “Foreigners who used the services will likely not be prosecuted, but will have their visas revoked.”

A counterfeit “University of Northern New Jersey”, was set up in 2013 by the Federal authorities and it promised “exceptional” educational opportunities for students who wanted to stay in US for higher studies. The website was made attractive and highlighted pictures of a table conference between happy young people and a faculty member in the library was shown in the webpage. The content also included a message by Dr. Steven Brunetti, Ph.D the president of the University assuring the students of prospective future, and included assured links to academic programs.

The office of the fake university had school administrators who were basically undercover agents. Reports confirm that officials have said “Those arrested knew the school was bogus, as did the foreigners who pretended to be students there in order to stay in the US. But they didn’t know it was set up as part of a sting by undercover agents from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” The US officials have also stated that the Indian students had an idea that the university was fraudulent and they were “willing participants” in the proceeds.

It seems that they had paid up to live and work in the US by appearing to be students said the authorities. Thousands of dollars had been spent by these ‘working’ students to gather paperwork from the middle men who were under arrest actually. These middle men paid the undercover agents for paperwork to prove that the students were enrolled in the University, hinted the federal prosecutors. The students in this way could prove their visa status without having to attend any university.

visa fraudOn Tuesday afternoon the federal authorities took the website off and are still continuing their search of people who arrange F-1 student visas through “visa mills” or fake schools.

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