Nearly two dozen suspected visa cheats were arrested Tuesday night after being snagged through a completely fake university concocted by the federal government.
Until yesterday, the University of Northern New Jersey (UNNJ) gave the appearance of being a completely normal American university.
“The University of Northern New Jersey is a multicultural institution dedicated to the discovery, development, and application of knowledge in a wide range of academic and professional fields,” said the school’s website. “UNNJ takes pride in serving persons of all racial, ethnic, and geographic groups as it prepares students to attain academic, personal and professional excellence in a multicultural and global society.” The website indicated the school had programs in fields like accounting, computer science, and marketing. Annual tuition was $12,620 a year (with a $25 ID card fee).
But all of this was just elaborate song and dance. UNNJ doesn’t actually exist.
“Although UNNJ was physically located here in New Jersey, in a real building in Cranford, the university was not a real school,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Paul Fishman in a statement.” Its only employees were undercover HSI agents posing as corrupt administrators. The school had no instructors or educators; it had no curriculum; and no actual classes or educational activities ever occurred there.”
The point of the fake school, Fishman said, was to catch people engaging in student visa fraud. UNNJ lured in recruiters who were explicitly told the school existed to assist in immigration fraud. Those recruiters in turn attempted to use fake credentials in the college to help foreigners receive fraudulent student visas to come to the United States.
The sting operation rounded up 21 people who now face visa fraud charges.
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