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Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Professor charged in visa scheme.

  1. #1
    Guest
    Federal investigators have charged a professor at Morris Brown College in
    Atlanta and another man with helping 17 foreign nationals fraudulently
    obtain student visas to enter the United States.

    Authorities were still trying Friday to unravel a scheme that may have
    opened an illegal door into this country for hundreds of people, mainly
    from India and Pakistan. They said the immigrants came here by posing as
    students at Morris Brown.

    William S. Duffey Jr., U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia,
    said a grand jury indicted Julu Kothapa, a Morris Brown marketing professor
    who lives in Kennesaw, and Syed Nusrat Ahmed, an unemployed Lilburn man.
    Duffey said they are both legal immigrants from India.

    He said investigators found no links to terrorism but continue to follow
    leads. He suggested more arrests may be coming.

    "This is a clear example of two people who were enriching themselves by
    abusing our system," the U.S. attorney said.

    Charles Taylor, who took over as Morris Brown president five days ago,
    suspended Kothapa on Friday.

    "The college will insist that all applicable rules, regulations and laws of
    every governmental organization will be followed to the letter," Taylor said.

    Kothapa, 64, and Ahmed, 38, were in federal custody Friday. Ahmed has
    pleaded not guilty, said his lawyer, Akil Secret. Kothapa's lawyer could
    not be reached for comment.

    Duffey said anyone who fraudulently obtained a student visa could face
    criminal charges or deportation.

    From 1997 to 2001, the prosecutor said, at least 17 foreign nationals paid
    $2,000 to $5,000 each for documents that said they had been accepted to
    study at Morris Brown. They used the documents to get student visas though
    they did not plan to attend the school, he said. Many settled in metro
    Atlanta, but authorities said others lived in Texas and New York.

    The case highlights problems the Immigration and Naturalization Service is
    racing to correct.

    Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the government's foreign-student
    program has come under scrutiny because one of the 19 hijackers who struck
    that day entered the country with a student visa but never went to class.
    Two others came into the United States on tourist visas and then received
    student visas to attend flight school.

    The U.S. Justice Department's inspector general said in May that the
    foreign-student program "has historically been dysfunctional" and "highly
    susceptible to fraud." He said INS agents in Atlanta and other cities
    suspected school employees were making money by selling documents that
    foreign nationals need to apply for student visas.

    Last month, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported at least 17 Georgia
    schools, including four flight schools, remained on an INS list of schools
    approved to enroll foreign students even though the schools had closed
    years ago. Authorities called such lax oversight a loophole that terrorists
    or human smugglers could exploit to fraudulently obtain a student visa.

    To fix the problem, the INS is relying on an Internet-based system to track
    about 548,000 foreign students in the United States, including at least
    8,300 in Georgia. The system is designed to alert the INS when a student
    fails to show up for class, changes majors, drops out of school or reduces
    his or her number of credit hours --- changes that can violate terms of a
    student visa.

    Congress first called for a tracking system in 1996, three years after a
    Jordanian student drove a van full of explosives into the World Trade
    Center. The INS in Atlanta tested a prototype of the tracking system at 21
    Southeastern schools, including five in Georgia, but opposition from
    foreign-student advisers stalled the program for years. Congress
    jump-started plans for a monitoring system after the Sept. 11 debacle.

    Several Georgia schools are participating in testing the new Student and
    Exchange Visitor Information System. Congress wants it running by Jan. 30,
    but the Justice Department's inspector general said this week the INS
    probably will miss the deadline.

    Rosemary Melville, director of the Atlanta INS office, said Friday the
    tracking system will help the agency detect irregularities, such as a
    college that seeks to enroll an unusually high number of foreign students.
    Duffey said investigators became suspicious of activities at Morris Brown
    after a routine review turned up an unusually high number of requests for
    foreign students.

    Taylor, the Morris Brown president, said about 200 of the school's 2,900
    students are foreign. Kothapa has taught at the school since 1985.

    "The college had absolutely no knowledge of this activity," Taylor said.

  2. #2
    Guest
    Federal investigators have charged a professor at Morris Brown College in
    Atlanta and another man with helping 17 foreign nationals fraudulently
    obtain student visas to enter the United States.

    Authorities were still trying Friday to unravel a scheme that may have
    opened an illegal door into this country for hundreds of people, mainly
    from India and Pakistan. They said the immigrants came here by posing as
    students at Morris Brown.

    William S. Duffey Jr., U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia,
    said a grand jury indicted Julu Kothapa, a Morris Brown marketing professor
    who lives in Kennesaw, and Syed Nusrat Ahmed, an unemployed Lilburn man.
    Duffey said they are both legal immigrants from India.

    He said investigators found no links to terrorism but continue to follow
    leads. He suggested more arrests may be coming.

    "This is a clear example of two people who were enriching themselves by
    abusing our system," the U.S. attorney said.

    Charles Taylor, who took over as Morris Brown president five days ago,
    suspended Kothapa on Friday.

    "The college will insist that all applicable rules, regulations and laws of
    every governmental organization will be followed to the letter," Taylor said.

    Kothapa, 64, and Ahmed, 38, were in federal custody Friday. Ahmed has
    pleaded not guilty, said his lawyer, Akil Secret. Kothapa's lawyer could
    not be reached for comment.

    Duffey said anyone who fraudulently obtained a student visa could face
    criminal charges or deportation.

    From 1997 to 2001, the prosecutor said, at least 17 foreign nationals paid
    $2,000 to $5,000 each for documents that said they had been accepted to
    study at Morris Brown. They used the documents to get student visas though
    they did not plan to attend the school, he said. Many settled in metro
    Atlanta, but authorities said others lived in Texas and New York.

    The case highlights problems the Immigration and Naturalization Service is
    racing to correct.

    Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the government's foreign-student
    program has come under scrutiny because one of the 19 hijackers who struck
    that day entered the country with a student visa but never went to class.
    Two others came into the United States on tourist visas and then received
    student visas to attend flight school.

    The U.S. Justice Department's inspector general said in May that the
    foreign-student program "has historically been dysfunctional" and "highly
    susceptible to fraud." He said INS agents in Atlanta and other cities
    suspected school employees were making money by selling documents that
    foreign nationals need to apply for student visas.

    Last month, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported at least 17 Georgia
    schools, including four flight schools, remained on an INS list of schools
    approved to enroll foreign students even though the schools had closed
    years ago. Authorities called such lax oversight a loophole that terrorists
    or human smugglers could exploit to fraudulently obtain a student visa.

    To fix the problem, the INS is relying on an Internet-based system to track
    about 548,000 foreign students in the United States, including at least
    8,300 in Georgia. The system is designed to alert the INS when a student
    fails to show up for class, changes majors, drops out of school or reduces
    his or her number of credit hours --- changes that can violate terms of a
    student visa.

    Congress first called for a tracking system in 1996, three years after a
    Jordanian student drove a van full of explosives into the World Trade
    Center. The INS in Atlanta tested a prototype of the tracking system at 21
    Southeastern schools, including five in Georgia, but opposition from
    foreign-student advisers stalled the program for years. Congress
    jump-started plans for a monitoring system after the Sept. 11 debacle.

    Several Georgia schools are participating in testing the new Student and
    Exchange Visitor Information System. Congress wants it running by Jan. 30,
    but the Justice Department's inspector general said this week the INS
    probably will miss the deadline.

    Rosemary Melville, director of the Atlanta INS office, said Friday the
    tracking system will help the agency detect irregularities, such as a
    college that seeks to enroll an unusually high number of foreign students.
    Duffey said investigators became suspicious of activities at Morris Brown
    after a routine review turned up an unusually high number of requests for
    foreign students.

    Taylor, the Morris Brown president, said about 200 of the school's 2,900
    students are foreign. Kothapa has taught at the school since 1985.

    "The college had absolutely no knowledge of this activity," Taylor said.

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