Prosecutors: Feds ran phony school to bust immigration scam

Posted at 5:37 PM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 17:37:35-05

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Prosecutors say federal agents operated a phony school in suburban Detroit to catch people who were making money by helping foreigners stay in the U.S. as students.

Eight people from different states were charged Wednesday in Detroit federal court. Steve Francis of Homeland Security Investigations says the suspects assisted hundreds of foreign nationals in a pay-to-stay scheme.

The University of Farmington had offices in Farmington Hills, Michigan, but no classes or teachers. The government says the recruiters and the foreigners knew it was a scam. The indictments say the recruiters were paid to help foreigners maintain their status as “students” and get work permits.

U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider says the international student visa program was “exploited and abused.” The charges are conspiracy and harboring aliens for profit.