With eight officials of a New Jersey based educational institution arrested on charges of foreign student visa fraud, federal authorities have given the students, mostly from India, multiple options to continue their studies or return with prejudice.
Taking into consideration the "strong reaction" from New Delhi in the case of Tri Valley University last year, the authorities yesterday gave the students the opportunity to continue their studies or return to their country.
Unlike in the Tri Valley University scam, wherein it is the students who were arrested and were subject to radio tagging, federal authorities yesterday nabbed the officials of the New Jersey-based American Health and Technology Institute (AHTI) and Vision Career Consultants USA Inc, which helped Indian / foreign students get admissions at AHTI.
Fifteen-year-old AHTI has nearly 200 foreign students, majority of them being from India. AHTI did not respond to the phone calls made by PTI in this regard.
According to its website, AHTI is approved to operate in New Jersey by the Department of Education, NJ Department of Labour & Workforce New Jersey. AHTI is authorised by the US government to enroll non-immigrant alien students.
Informed sources said the institution has been issued notice to withdrawal its certification. The foreign students, said to be overwhelmingly from India, have been given options to either continue or seek transfer to another university or return to India without prejudice.
Special agents with ICE Homeland Security Investigations executed three search warrants, including two at school campuses located in Iselin and Jersey City.
Unlike in the case of Tri Valley University and Northern Virginia University wherein intermediaries or the immigration companies remained untouched, in the case of AHTI, a New Jersey-based immigration company Vision Career Consultants USA Inc (VCC), has also been charged of doing visa fraud and its officials arrested.
The names of those arrested and charged – which was released by the US Attorney's Office, New Jersey – most of them appear to be people of Indian origin.
Those charged by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations are Dhirenkumar Patel, Vanrajsinh Chavda, Manamadurai Somalingham, Hemantkumar Patel, Michelle Alphonso, Maulik Gajjar, Tiffany Thomas, Yasmin Rivera, Hemlata Christian. All of them except for Hemantkumar Patel, have been arrested. Somalingam is president of AHTI.
They have been charged with conspiracy to obtain and use phony visas and conspiracy to conceal illegal aliens. All those arrested made their initial appearances before US Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz today in Newark federal