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Indian American admits role in widespread student visa fraud

August 28, 2013 23:12 IST

An Indian American has admitted his role in widespread foreign student visa fraud that took place in New Jersey, the US Department of Justice said.

Manamadurai Somalingam, 64, from New York pleaded guilty before US District Judge Freda Wolfson in Trenton Federal Court in New Jersey to information charging him with one count of conspiring to commit visa fraud and one count of conspiring to conceal and harbour illegal aliens for private financial gain.

He now faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a fine of USD 250,000.

The sentencing is scheduled for December 5.

According to court documents, Somalingam admitted that from March 2011 through May 2012, while he was the owner of a school called PC Tech Learning with campuses in Iselin and Jersey City, he engaged in a conspiracy to obtain student visas for foreign citizens who were not eligible for such visas.

Somalingam admitted that he falsely certified that a woman he hired to work for him at the Jersey City campus of PC Tech was eligible for a student visa even though he knew that she would be working full-time and was not eligible.

Besides, Somalingam admitted he never terminated a foreign citizen's student status as long as that individual paid his tuition fees, even though Somalingam, as the primary designated school official for PC Tech, was required to terminate any student who failed to make proper progress in his studies, the Department of Justice said.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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