Monday, December 28, 2009

Pastor Peddled Illegally Obtained Student Visas

"California pastor charged in visa fraud scheme

Foreign nationals allegedly paid defendant thousands for aid in illegally obtaining student visas"
 
"A Korea-born pastor who owns and operates a religious school in Fullerton, Calif., is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court Wednesday to answer to charges that he used the school as a front for an elaborate student visa fraud scheme, going so far as to hand out phony diplomas and stage graduation ceremonies.

Samuel Chai Cho Oh, 65, owner of California Union University (CUU), surrendered to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents Tuesday morning. Oh, who also serves as pastor of the Union Church housed on the CUU campus, is accused in a criminal complaint of conspiracy to commit visa fraud.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, a confidential source familiar with Oh's business dealings alleged the pastor collected $40,000 to $50,000 a month in fees from foreign "students" who received Form I-20s from CUU certifying their eligibility for academic study. The Form I-20 enables prospective students to go to a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad and apply for a student visa. Until October, when its federal certification was revoked, CUU was authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to accept foreign students pursuing an education in religious and biblical studies, English as a Second Language (ESL) and Oriental medicine.

As part of the investigation, which began 10 months ago, ICE agents arrested and questioned more than 30 foreign nationals who stated they paid Oh fees ranging from $600 to more than $10,000 for documentation enabling them to fraudulently obtain student visas and, in some cases, bogus degrees. The 'students' acknowledged they never attended class, nor did they ever see any teachers or students on the CUU campus. In the case affidavit, one witness, who purportedly received his bachelor's degree in education from CUU, recounted how Oh staged a graduation ceremony at the campus in May, where students clad in caps and gowns, laughed as they received their phony diplomas."

Read the full story: http://www.ice.gov/pi/nr/0912/091223santaana.htm

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