ATLANTA, Ga.— U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents participated in an investigation that led to the federal grand jury indictment of Songwoo Shim, 47, of Lawrenceville, Ga., and In Young Park, 36, of Duluth, Ga., on felony charges for conspiring to encourage and induce aliens to reside unlawfully in the United States and for manufacturing fraudulent documents including forms of fraudulent government identification. Shim was also indicted on a conspiracy charge for submitting a fraudulent application to ICE's Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to obtain certification for the Humana Language Learning Center, a Georgia-based English language school for Korean-speaking persons. Shim and Park's hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Janet F. King was held April 23.
“ICE is committed to working with its law enforcement partners to identify, arrest and prosecute those who violate our laws,” said Kenneth Smith, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Atlanta. “ Those who engage in illegal activity should know that we will hold them accountable for their actions.”
According to Nahmias, Shim allegedly submitted a fraudulent I-17 petition to the ICE SEVP program along with letters of support supposedly authored by three institutes of higher learning. SEVP provides approval and oversight to schools authorized to enroll non-immigrant students and issue I-20 forms enabling the students to legally stay in the United States.
Non-accredited educational institutions seeking SEVP certification must submit letters from three institutions accredited by the U.S. Department of Education stating that the institutions have accepted transfer credits unconditionally on behalf of the students. The letters submitted by Shim were either forged or obtained by fraudulent means without the institutions' knowledge. In 2006, ICE awarded SEVP certification to the Humana Language Learning Center, which Shim managed and operated, based on the fraudulent I-17 petition he submitted.
According to the indictment, once Shim fraudulently obtained SEVP certification for Humana Language Learning Center, he and co-defendant Park began facilitating the issuance of F-1 student visas to foreign-born individuals who were not entitled to, or eligible for, the visas. The defendants allegedly manufactured and provided false documents, including resumes, school transcripts, diplomas, financial plans and statements, and I-94 forms, to the aliens in support of their applications for F-1 nonimmigrant student status. The defendants maintained a document lab with computer equipment and files in an apartment where they allegedly manufactured the fraudulent documents.
Although Humana Language Learning Center reported that the school had enrolled hundreds of students, the vast majority of the aliens who obtained F-1 status never attended Humana Language Learning Center but used their status to begin living and working in the United States. Shim charged the aliens thousands of dollars for the fraudulent documents he provided them for the purpose of obtaining their F-1 status.
The charges against Shim and Park carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.