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September 15, 2015San Jose, CA, United StatesDocument and Benefit Fraud

Former CEO of Bay Area university sentenced in visa fraud scheme

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The former chief executive officer (CEO) of Herguan University in Sunnyvale has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for his role in a student visa fraud scheme uncovered by the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF) spearheaded by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Jerry Wang, 34, appeared Monday before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila. Wang was ordered to surrender and begin serving his sentence by Nov. 3. In addition to the prison term, Judge Davila ordered the defendant to forfeit $700,000 in proceeds derived from the scheme.

In April, Wang pleaded guilty to submitting false documents to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). As part of his plea, he also admitted participating in the scheme to commit visa fraud involving more than 100 immigration-related documents known as “Forms I-20,” as well as aiding and abetting the unauthorized access of a DHS computer database. 

The ex-Herguan CEO was originally indicted in 2012 on 15 charges in connection with a visa fraud scheme tied to the school. A superseding indictment filed in October 2014 alleged that, starting in July 2007, Wang and others caused Herguan to submit fraudulent documents to the SEVP in support of petitions to admit foreign students. Wang was charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud; aiding and abetting visa fraud; aiding and abetting unauthorized access of a government computer; use of false documents; and aggravated identity theft.

“Jerry Wang has admitted submitting over one hundred fraudulent documents to the government in an effort to circumvent the rules applying to international students,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch. “In doing so, he has imperiled the programs that allow international students to visit the United States in order to engage in valuable educational exchanges.”

“International students represent an invaluable asset to our nation,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge of HSI San Francisco.

“We’re committed to working with our government partners and with educators to enable legitimate students to pursue their studies here. However, HSI will aggressively target those who commit student visa fraud out of greed and self-interest. Their actions undermine the integrity of this country’s immigration laws and it will not be tolerated.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hartley M. K. West and Maia T. Perez are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Helen Yee, Natachiana Williams, Rosario Calderon, and Trina Khadoo. 

The DBFTF is a multi-agency task force that coordinates investigations related to fraud schemes involving immigration documents and benefits.

Updated: 09/17/2015