new york man admits role in foreign student visa fraud scheme
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2013
NEWARK, N.J. – A New York man today admitted his role in a widespread foreign student visa fraud that took place in Iselin and Jersey City, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Manamadurai Somalingam, 64, of Pelham, N.Y., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to commit visa fraud and one count of conspiring to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for private financial gain.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
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.
He also admitted that 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 conspiracy to commit visa fraud charge to which Somalingam pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison, and the conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty 10 years in prison. Both offenses are also subject to a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson is scheduled for Dec. 5, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana W. Chen of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Timothy R. Anderson Esq., Red Bank, N.J.