San Jose Mercury News August 2, 2012 by Lisa M. Krieger and Molly Vorwerck
Striking a blow at a Silicon Valley school that attracted foreigners with student visas, federal agents on Thursday raided Sunnyvale's Herguan University and charged its CEO with visa fraud.
The indictment marks the second time federal officials have ensnared a Bay Area university in a growing effort to catch up with schools that allegedly rake in millions of dollars as so-called visa mills.
Herguan University leader Jerry Wang, 32, was arrested Thursday at his home in Santa Clara and charged in a 15-count indictment that could send him to prison for up to 23 years and amount to more than $1 million in fines.
The charges come a year after an investigation by this newspaper found Herguan was among a group of Bay Area schools -- including Pleasanton's now-shuttered Tri-Valley University -- that misrepresented information on federal applications, which allowed them to sponsor overseas students for coveted visas.
In the case of Tri-Valley, federal agents allege the unaccredited school had been paid millions of dollars by foreigners to obtain student visas that authorized them to remain in the U.S.
Thursday's indictment said Wang and others at Herguan submitted false documents, false transfer letters and made false statements to federal regulators.
And as in the case of Tri-Valley University where the alien students were active paticipants in the fraud scheme, ICE HSI has failed again to arrest the alien students.
The case could throw into question the immigration status for about 450 students enrolled at Herguan, most natives of India...
Herguan was closed Thursday but Friberg said it would reopen Friday. Students may continue to attend classes so long as the school stays certified.
But if it closes, they must try to immediately enroll in an accredited school to maintain their legal status -- or go home, empty-handed, after spending thousands of dollars toward what they hoped would be an American degree.
And the fraud was quite obvious, the so-called university was co-located with a acupuncture and massage school:
Wang is also CEO of the University of East-West Medicine, which shares a newly renovated two-story office building on Lawrence Expressway with Herguan University. The indictment didn't specifically allege problems at the other school.
ICE HSI, ever the political agency, had a hands off policy because Wang was closely connected to local leftist Asian politicians and one-time illegal alien Arnold Schwartzenkennedy:
Until last year, the school's lobby was decorated with photos of Wang with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and commendations from U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, among others.
It is abundantly clear that a "university" that offers only two majors is not a real institution of higher learning. And like Tri-Valley University and the University of Northern Virginia, it was unaccredited, but falsely claimed its units were transferable.
The newspaper's 2011 investigation showed Herguan sent letters to immigration authorities from three accredited colleges, including Silicon Valley University and Northwestern Polytechnic University, promising to accept Herguan's credits. But representatives from those schools told this newspaper last year that they did not write such letters.