The University of Northern New Jersey looked legitimate. It had an official-looking website, a crest and listed its tuition costs. However, it was a front set up by federal investigators to bust an alleged immigration fraud scheme.
A report on CNN Money said the university set out seven undergraduate and nine graduate degree programs and its tuition costs were $12,620 a year.
The university’s online presence included a convincing Facebook page and it even detailed its expansion plans.
The report said the university was created by federal agents to uncover an alleged visa fraud scam.
Last month, the feds arrested 21 people accused of working with 1,000 foreigners to obtain worker visas. The arrests followed an intensive, three-year investigation into what agents described as the exploitation-for-profit of non-immigrant student visas. Arrests were made in Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Washington D.C. by agents working for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The fake university demonstrates the elaborate measures investigators will sometimes take in their bid to uncover alleged visa fraud. Our attorneys help people who want to work in the United States to negotiate their way through a complicated visa minefield.
We also represent those who are accused of a wide range of immigration offenses which are investigated at a federal level and often carry high penalties for offenders.
The Department of Homeland Security states there are about 1.2 million overseas students currently in the United States on visas.
The 1,000 or so foreign students seeking to study in the United States at the fake university will not be arrested but their visas will be terminated and they are likely to have to leave the country, CNN reported.
It’s a different matter for the “brokers” who are accused of recruiting the students.
“Those charged and arrested are alleged to be “amongst the (immigration) system’s most egregious violators,” Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana said in a statement released last month.
ABC news reported the latest arrests came about 18 months after a news investigation detailed how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to track as many as 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the United States on student visas. Losing track of overseas students has clear homeland security implications and keeping oversight of students on visas was a key recommendation of the 9/11 commission that was set up after the 2001 terror attacks.