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Man Charged in Sweeping Student Visa Fraud Case
L.A. Times ^ | March 8, 2010 | -- Anna Gorman in Los Angeles and My-Thuan Tran in Santa Ana

Posted on 03/08/2010 10:58:29 PM PST by Sefton

Higgens was paid by dozens of foreign students -- mostly from the Middle East -- who were paying him to sit in class, take exams and write papers for them so their student visas would remain valid. Investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the demand was so great that he hired employees, including a blond woman who they believe posed as an Middle Eastern man to take a test. Agents are continuing to investigate the case and believe Higgins had several co-conspirators.

(Excerpt) Read more at latimesblogs.latimes.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: alfalahi; alhogail; almansoori; almehairbi; almehairi; alnuaim; calif; college; computer; eamon; eamondanielhiggins; eamonhiggins; fraud; higgins; immigration; irvine; irvinevalleycollege; kuwait; lagunaniguel; lebanon; middleeastern; qatar; saudiarabia; studentvisafraud; terrorism; turkey; uae; visa; visafraud
The question is... where were the real students and what were they doing hear while others were sitting in for them taking classes? A late breaking KTLA News report said eleven have been arrested.
1 posted on 03/08/2010 10:58:29 PM PST by Sefton
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To: Sefton

Test-taking for another student is an old scam. Don’t universities check IDs now?


2 posted on 03/08/2010 11:04:43 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: Sefton

Video news story here- http://www.ktla.com/news/ look for video titled “KTLA Local Man Arrested in Massive...”


3 posted on 03/08/2010 11:04:51 PM PST by Sefton (Marxism>Leninism>Stalinism>Trotskism>Maoism>Obamaism)
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To: Sefton

Were they even here at all, or maybe gallivanting around the world?


4 posted on 03/08/2010 11:05:45 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

The 10:00 PM News stated the Mastermind took classes at ten colleges over the past several years and hired others to do the same for the foreign visa students who weren’t really here to go to school.


5 posted on 03/08/2010 11:10:09 PM PST by Sefton (Marxism>Leninism>Stalinism>Trotskism>Maoism>Obamaism)
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To: Sefton

Talking about the 9-11 mastermind? Or the mastermind of this particular scam?


6 posted on 03/08/2010 11:13:02 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: Sefton

The only subject Middle Eastern students learned well in their native lands and U.S. madrassahs is 100 ways to hate and destroy infidels.


7 posted on 03/08/2010 11:15:40 PM PST by Mack Truck ( CAIR is the biggest enemy of free speech and freedom in America.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Didn’t Teddy Kennedy get kicked out of Harvard for this?


8 posted on 03/08/2010 11:22:19 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Higgens is the alleged "mastermind" of this immigration fraud scheme. Here are some of his customers:

•Mohamed Khalfan Hazeem Taresh Almehairi of the United Arab Emirates

•Khalid Butti Khalifa Mohamed Almehairbi of the United Arab Emirates

•Ibrahim Salem Khalfan Almansoori, of the United Arab Emirates

•Abdullah Mohammed Alhogail of Saudi Arabia

•Mohammed Ali Alnuaim of Saudi Arabia

•Saeed Mohamed Hilal Zayed Alfalahi of the United Arab Emirates

9 posted on 03/08/2010 11:22:28 PM PST by Sefton (Marxism>Leninism>Stalinism>Trotskism>Maoism>Obamaism)
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To: Sefton

Interesting to compare the detail reported by the L.A. Times and the O.C. Register here: http://www.ocregister.com/news/higgins-238119-college-students.html


10 posted on 03/08/2010 11:25:37 PM PST by Sefton (Marxism>Leninism>Stalinism>Trotskism>Maoism>Obamaism)
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To: Sefton

Makes me wonder if BO had someone do something like this for him, when he was a student.


11 posted on 03/08/2010 11:25:37 PM PST by thecodont
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To: HiTech RedNeck

“Don’t universities check IDs now?”

In a 400+ person class???

Hell, even the TA’s haven’t got a clue who’s sitting in those classes.


12 posted on 03/08/2010 11:28:15 PM PST by tcrlaf (Obama White House=Tammany Hall on the National Mall)
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To: Sefton
From the Orange County Register: Higgins is suspected of providing services for at least 119 students – all from Middle Eastern countries.
13 posted on 03/08/2010 11:29:59 PM PST by Sefton (Marxism>Leninism>Stalinism>Trotskism>Maoism>Obamaism)
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To: thecodont

Maybe like, take the whole darn class for him?


14 posted on 03/08/2010 11:31:19 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: Sefton

No need to worry! “About half of the students are believed to have returned to their home countries.” immigration officials said.


15 posted on 03/08/2010 11:35:43 PM PST by Sefton (Marxism>Leninism>Stalinism>Trotskism>Maoism>Obamaism)
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To: Mack Truck
The only subject Middle Eastern students learned well in their native lands and U.S. madrassahs is 100 ways to hate and destroy infidels.

Actually, they can do the same in any given university that offers classes in American Studies. Every single of them is either about how greedy Americans are or on history of American imperialism.

16 posted on 03/08/2010 11:40:56 PM PST by paudio (Are you better off today than in 2006, when the Democrats took over the Congress?)
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To: thecodont; Cindy; Alamo-Girl; kristinn

“Makes me wonder if BO had someone do something like this for him, when he was a student.”

BUMPITY...


17 posted on 03/08/2010 11:41:02 PM PST by Yehuda (Land of the free, THANKS TO THE BRAVE!)
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To: Sefton
Looks like American students are still the best and brightest, ...

... and some of them know they will never be able to make an honest living in this corrupt communist society.

18 posted on 03/08/2010 11:43:05 PM PST by meadsjn (Sarah 2012, or sooner)
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To: Sefton

Orange County, of course. Heh. Another paragon of leadership.


19 posted on 03/09/2010 12:08:45 AM PST by familyop (cbt. engr. (cbt), NG, '89-' 96, Duncan Hunter or no-vote.)
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To: Yehuda

Thanks for the ping Yehuda.


20 posted on 03/09/2010 12:14:07 AM PST by Cindy
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To: All

http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/multimedia/archive/index.htm?top25=yes&year=all&month=all&state=all&topic=all

#

Note: The following text is a quote:

http://www.ice.gov/pi/nr/1003/100308santaana.htm

March 08, 2010

Orange County man charged with running sophisticated student visa fraud scheme

SANTA ANA, Calif. - An Orange County man surrendered to federal authorities Monday morning after being charged with conspiracy for allegedly orchestrating a visa fraud scheme involving dozens of foreign students enrolled at institutions throughout Southern California, including several junior colleges and three California State University campuses.

Foreign students from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Kuwait, Turkey, and Qatar allegedly paid thousands of dollars to the defendant and his associates to take college classes, exams and placement tests on their behalf so they could maintain their lawful immigration status as foreign students.

Eamon Daniel Higgins, 46, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., appeared in U.S. District Court to answer to a criminal information accusing him of one count of conspiring to commit visa fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Higgins’ trial is slated to begin May 4.

Monday morning as Higgins made his initial court appearance, ICE agents fanned out across Orange and Los Angeles counties, arresting 16 of the foreign students linked to the investigation. Of those, six were taken into custody on criminal charges for committing visa fraud. The remaining 10 individuals were arrested on administrative immigration violations and will be placed in removal proceedings. In addition, ICE agents encountered six other foreign students with ties to the case who were instructed to come in for further questioning.

Monday’s enforcement actions are the result of an eight-month investigation spearheaded by ICE, with substantial assistance provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Los Angeles Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

“Visa fraud poses a significant security vulnerability and undermines the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system,” said Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary John Morton who oversees ICE. “As this case shows, we will move aggressively to identify and prosecute those who engage in fraud and corrupt the immigration process for profit.”

According to the charging document unsealed today, Higgins received up to $1,500 to complete final examinations and other classroom work for foreign students, and $1,000 for taking required English proficiency tests. Higgins allegedly recruited associates to take exams as well.

The court document states that Higgins used personal identifying information provided by the foreign students to obtain counterfeit California driver’s licenses. Then the defendant and his associates, posing as the foreign students, allegedly took the tests and examinations and attended the classes on the students’ behalf. According to the court document, the conspiracy is believed to have begun in January 2002 and continued through mid-December of 2009.

In December 2009, ICE agents executed a federal search warrant at Higgins’ residence in Laguna Niguel. There, agents seized a computer, along with dozens of fraudulent California identification documents and numerous college exam documents. A forensic analysis of the computer and related evidence revealed more than 100 foreign students who may have participated in the fraud scheme. Of those, ICE determined 47 are still in the United States.

“This case is yet another example of the community and every level of law enforcement working together to hold criminals accountable,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

ICE officials emphasize the case is ongoing and agents are continuing to pursue leads. The investigation is being coordinated by the Los Angeles ICE Office of Investigation’s recently expanded Compliance Enforcement Unit (CEU), which focuses on identifying and investigating foreign students and other non-immigrant visitors to the United States who violate the terms of their visas. The Unit prioritizes cases related to individuals who may be involved in ongoing criminal activity or pose a threat to public safety. Other agencies partnering with ICE on the CEU are the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

“This is another example of how combined resources bring significant, substantive action against individuals engaged in illegal activity,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. “This team is proving most effective.”

For photos from the operation, please visit the ICE media gallery.

— ICE —


21 posted on 03/09/2010 12:16:06 AM PST by Cindy
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To: All
SNIPPET from the link in post no. 10 (reposted here):

http://www.ocregister.com/news/higgins-238119-college-students.html

"Prosecutors state that he provided services to at least 119 students – all men from Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Kuwait, Turkey, and Qatar.

For the last eight years, prosecutors said Higgins aided students by taking or directing his associates to take math and English proficiency exams to sociology and marketing classes.

About half of the students are believed to have returned to their home countries, immigration officials said."

22 posted on 03/09/2010 12:19:51 AM PST by Cindy
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To: All
SNIPPET from post no. 21:


"A forensic analysis of the computer and related evidence revealed more than 100 foreign students who may have participated in the fraud scheme. Of those, ICE determined 47 are still in the United States."

23 posted on 03/09/2010 12:23:11 AM PST by Cindy
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Test-taking for another student is an old scam. Don’t universities check IDs now?

Why would they?

Universities only care about the money as long as something like this doesn’t end up in the news. Now they will start making noises like they care. They will be shocked and deeply saddened. There will be investigations and expulsions.

After the news coverage dies down it will be back to business as usual.

24 posted on 03/09/2010 12:51:16 AM PST by Pontiac
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To: Sefton

Y’mean they weren’t really sweeping ... they were cheating with a vacumn cleaner ?


25 posted on 03/09/2010 1:55:40 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Cindy

bump!


26 posted on 03/09/2010 9:33:19 AM PST by Yehuda (Land of the free, THANKS TO THE BRAVE!)
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To: Yehuda

Thanks for the ping!


27 posted on 03/09/2010 8:33:01 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl

!


28 posted on 03/09/2010 10:33:56 PM PST by Yehuda (Land of the free, THANKS TO THE BRAVE!)
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