College Prep Academy CEO Dong Seok Yi, 52, conspired with the school’s academic coordinator, Sook An Kil, 41, to obtain fraudulent documents for women they claimed were students, said U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman Bob Page.
The women were working as prostitutes in Korean bars, Page said, and as many as half of the school’s approximately 100 students were living in the country on fraudulent student visas.
Yi filed an application with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and was granted approval for the school to enroll foreign-born students and issue I-20 forms — which allow foreign students to live in America.
The school’s academic director, Chang Seon Song, 51, referred the women to Sang Houn Kim, 53, of Diamond Bar, Calif., who is accused of manufacturing fake documents the women used to support their applications for student visas, Page said. Kim charged the women thousands for the fraudulent documents, Page said.
“From manufacturing false documents, to charging thousands of dollars in tuition payments to maintain the immigrants on their rolls, the defendants are charged with subverting the purpose of the student VISA program for profit,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement.
The co-conspirators were indicted by a grand jury March 5 and federal agents Thursday executed a search warrant at the school. A bank account associated with the school was seized by federal authorities.
The indictment charges them with conspiracy and making false statements. It is unclear if they have attorneys and a call to the school was not answered.
Officials have consulted with the U.S. Department of State-Consular Affairs Section to assist the school’s remaining students. They’ll have the option of transferring to another accredited school or returning to their home countries, Page said.