San Francisco Bay Area woman ran fake university for foreigners
SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco Bay Area woman was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for running what prosecutors said was a sham university that served as a front for an immigration scam.
Susan Xiao-Ping Su, founder and president of the phony Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, was accused of charging hundreds of foreigners, mostly Indian nationals, tuition and other payments for visa-related documents that allowed them to live and work in the United States while she purported that they were here legally to study. She made more than $5.6 million and used the money to buy commercial real estate, a Mercedes-Benz and multiple homes, including one at a golf club, federal prosecutors said Monday.
U.S. District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar sentenced Su, 44, on Friday after she was convicted in March of visa fraud and other charges. She was also ordered to forfeit $5.6 million and pay more than $900,000 in restitution to two companies that processed payments from students, authorities said. Su’s attorney, John Jordan, said he has filed a notice of appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Most of the students appeared to know they were taking part in a fraudulent scheme, said Mitchell Rose, a supervisory special agent with Homeland Security Investigations in San Francisco.
They received visa-related documents in exchange for about $2,700 a semester, Rose said.