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Press Release

Charlotte Private School Owner Is Sentenced To Prison For Scheme Involving Student Visas

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Evelyn P. Mack, the owner and principal of a Charlotte-area private school, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of conspiracy to harbor aliens, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. also ordered Mack, 65, of Charlotte, to serve one year under court supervision upon completion of her prison term.

Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Charlotte, and Edwin Guard,  Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), join U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, from March 2011 to December 2016, Mack was the owner, operator and principal of the Evelyn Mack Academy (EMA), a private school located in Charlotte.  Court records show that EMA was approved and authorized by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to enroll foreign national students in grades nine through twelve, with Mack as the school’s Primary Designated School Official (PDSO).

According to court records, as the school’s PDSO, Mack had the authority to issue I-20 forms for foreign national students to enroll in and attend EMA on a full-time basis. The I-20 forms are necessary for potential foreign national students to obtain their F-1 student visas.   In addition to preparing immigration forms and other necessary documents for incoming foreign students, Mack was also responsible for creating and maintaining student records for new and existing students in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, used by DHS to ensure that foreign national students in the United States are in compliance with the terms and conditions of their F-1 visa status.

Court records show that Mack conspired with other individuals, many of whom were basketball coaches and recruiters with organizations in the United States and other countries, to use Mack’s status as PDSO to admit foreign national students without complying with the terms of the F-1 student visa program. As part of the scheme, Mack falsely represented that approximately 75 foreign students were full-time students at EMA, when in fact the majority of the students, who were minors, were mostly recruited as athletes by the co-conspirators.  Mack was paid by her co-conspirators an administrative enrollment fee of $1,000 per student and other benefits, in exchange for her participation in the scheme.

On June 25, 2018, Mack pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor aliens.  She will be ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility to begin serving her sentence. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the ICE-HSI, and Greensboro Resident Office of the Diplomatic Security Service, for their investigation of this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Smith, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.



Updated November 12, 2019