Two Plead Guilty in 'Pay-to-Stay' Sham College Case

September 29, 2016

Two international-student recruiters pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit visa fraud in relation to their recruitment of foreign nationals to the University of Northern New Jersey, a sham “pay-to-stay” college created by the federal government as part of a sting operation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey said in a press release that Harpreet Sachdeva, 26, of Somerset, N.J., and Sanjeev Sukhija, 35, of North Brunswick, N.J., were employed by an international student recruiting agency called Right OPT, where they advised foreign nationals that they could, for a fee, enroll in UNNJ without having to attend classes as a way to fraudulently maintain their visa status in the U.S.

Sachdeva and Sukhija were also accused of conspiring to obtain fraudulent work authorizations for some of their clients, and, according to the press release, “admitted that their intention was to profit from the scheme by outsourcing these foreign individuals through Right OPT as information technology consultants with various businesses in the United States for commissions.”

“In total,” the release states, “Sachdeva, Sukhija and others fraudulently maintained and attempted to obtain approximately 45 student visas and/or work authorizations.”

Sachdeva and Sukhija are scheduled to be sentenced in January. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit visa fraud is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


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