F1 Student Visas – Student visa fraud ring found at Fla. school

Many students come to the US to gain great education and future opportunities as a result. At the same time, many prospective students, intend to use the student visa as a cover in order to stay in the US. After 9/11 the rules became tougher, if a student fails to attend school, he must be reported and and may be loose his status. Yet, there are some schools across the country that will enroll students, but will not require attendance. Only to make money.

A Florida language school helped illegally obtain student visas for foreign nationals who never went to class, violating laws enacted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks exposed weaknesses in the program, authorities said Thursday.

Eighty-one student visa holders purportedly studying at the Florida Language Institute have been arrested. None was on any federal watch list or linked to terrorism, U.S. authorities said, though investigators were checking their backgrounds. The school’s owner, Lydia Menocal, 58, and employee Ofelia Macia, 75, allegedly made $2.4 million over the past three years from foreign nationals applying for U.S. student visas. It was not clear how much they charged each student for the paperwork, authorities said.

Menocal and Macia were charged with conspiring to commit an offense against the U.S., and Menocal faces other charges including falsifying immigration documents, according to a grand jury indictment. ICE officials said the takedown of the school was the largest visa fraud investigation in the agency’s history
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