McLean Business Managers and Strayer University Official Convicted, Sentenced for Large-Scale Immigration Fraud
Defendants conspired to create fake transcripts for foreign students to retain U.S. visas
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Two managers of McLean, Virginia-based Integrated Academics and a former admissions official for Strayer University have been convicted of conspiring to create fraudulent transcripts so that foreign students would appear eligible to retain their student visas in the United States.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Washington, D.C., made the announcement.
Mohamad Yousef Tellawi, 34, of Falls Church, Virginia, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III to 22 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for participating in the immigration document fraud conspiracy. Co-conspirators Lea Dzhin, 37, of Falls Church, Virginia, and Maher Khudari, 28, of Arlington, Virginia, previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy. Tellawi and Dzhin also were ordered to forfeit $265,000 in proceeds from the fraud, and Khudari was ordered to forfeit $30,747.65.
According to court records, Tellawi and Dzhin are managers of Integrated Academics, a company that caters to international students and touts itself as offering a full range of services for students, including securing college admissions and providing academic advising and tutoring.
From about November 2012 to October 2013, Tellawi and Dzhin conspired with Khudari, an admissions official at Strayer University, to fraudulently create at least 58 official Strayer University transcripts in order to help clients of Integrated Academics retain their F-1 non-immigrant student visas and remain in the United States. Tellawi then would complete the necessary paperwork containing the fraudulent transcripts and meet with school officials on behalf of Integrated Academics’ student clients. In addition, Tellawi and Dzhin would facilitate their clients’ continued presence as student visa holders by hiring people to take online classes, write papers and take tests for the clients.
This investigation was conducted by ICE-HSI, with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service, Northern Virginia Community College Police Department, and Strayer University. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Alexandria Bogle is prosecuting this case, with assistance from Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys William P. Jauquet and David Tyler.
Anyone with information concerning immigration fraud involving international students is urged to contact ICE-HSI’s tipline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by email through the website www.ice.gov.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-136.