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Federal Agents Set Up a Fake University to Make Arrests on Visa Fraud

The Department of Homeland Security has arrested 21 people who it says conspired with more than 1,000 foreign nationals to fraudulently obtain foreign worker and student visas through the University of Northern New Jersey, a fake institution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced on Tuesday.

Established by the department in 2012, the fake university acted as window dressing to lure recruiters taking kickbacks for enrolling foreign nationals there, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The defendants face a range of charges, including student-visa fraud and harboring aliens for profit.

Homeland Security agents had no faculty, curriculum, or classes at the storefront university. Instead, the sham institution stressed it could issue a Form I-20, a certificate for full-time foreign-national students that allows them to obtain an F-1 student visa.

Recruiters asked for help, the departments says, from the fake university’s administrators to fraudulently enroll students. The defendants acknowledged that no foreign-national student or worker would take courses, receive college credits, or participate in any of the promoted IT projects.

This sting operation comes five years after a similar sham institution, Tri-Valley University, was raided by federal agents for cashing tuition checks and admitting foreign students for visas, but not requiring class attendance.

For more, see this Chronicle article.

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