Tri-Valley University not only brought students over to Pleasanton on illegal visas, but many of those students brought their spouses here as well, according to The Times of India.
The paper cites an Indian ministry report that says a number of immigrants got their spouses admitted at Tri-Valley, which helped them get an extended stay of up to eight years with illegal student work permits, or brought them into the United States through dependent H-4 visas, the report says.
Once in, some secured admission in accredited universities and got F-1 student visas. Later, many shifted to Tri-Valley, according to the report cited by The Times, which said the university gave them the opportunity to work from day one, although Tri-Valley was not authorized to do so.
Some Tri-Valley students used the same arrangement to fly their spouses to the U.S. The paper quotes a source that said many of those spouses enrolled at Tri-Valley "within just three to four days of landing in the U.S. with the help of agents in the U.S."
Under F-2 visas or dependent visas, spouses are not allowed to work. However, if a spouse were admitted into Tri-Valley University, he or she could immediately get a job. The university offered online courses that did not require students to attend classes, although that is required for student visa status.
Susan Xiao-Ping Su, the founder and president of Tri-Valley University and owner of two homes in Pleasanton, has been charged with money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud.
The university -- apparently operated out of a small, two-story office space on Boulder Court -- and the two houses were part of a recent raid by federal officials from ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of Homeland Security.
Court documents claim that Su ran an "elaborate fraud scheme" that netted millions of dollars from foreign nationals who hoped to become legal immigrants.
Su "made false statements and misrepresentations in petitions to DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to obtain student visas from the government," according to charges filed last month in U.S. District Court in Oakland. "Su and Tri-Valley University have made millions of dollars in tuition fees for issuing these visa related documents which enable foreign nationals (to) obtain illegal student immigrant status."
The document says Su used profits from her scam to buy five properties, including the two homes in Pleasanton raided by ICE -- at 2890 Victoria Ridge Court and 1371 Germano Way.
Su has recently defended herself in Indian newspapers, saying a Hyderabad company she worked with -- not her -- perpetuated the scam on students.
Many of those students were rounded up last week and released wearing ankle bracelets until their cases are sorted out.