Three persons were arrested in LA this Wednesday in connection with a pay-to-stay scheme that involved four schools in Southern California for Chinese and Korean students. The arrests followed a federal grand jury indictment of the three defendants on charges of conspiring to commit money laundering, immigration fraud and additional immigration offenses.
The scheme involved four schools in Southern California that were supposed to provide education to Chinese and Korean immigrants. The “students” paid $1,800 six months ‘ tuition for a Form I-20 which made the students eligible for an F-1 visa, basically a student visa. The students were then provided absolutely no education but were enabled to stay in the US, often in other states, such as Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Illinois and Washington.
The three individuals who were arrested are Hae Sun Shim, the owner and manager of the postsecondary schools in question; Hyung Chan Moon, who assisted in the operation and Eun Young Choi, a former employee who also helped operating and managing the schools.
Three of the four schools in question are in Koreatown in Los Angeles: Walter Jay M.D. Institute, an Educational Center, American College of Forensic Studies and Prodee University/Neo-America Language School while the fourth one is in Alhambra, California – Likie Fashion and Technology College.
Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of the local office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that, “Any scheme where someone gains access to the U.S. through fraud is also a national security vulnerability,“ and added that, “Although we don’t have any information that any of these people wish to do harm to the U.S., the point is anyone could take advantage of a vulnerability like this.”