Pleasanton university raided over fraud allegations

Prosecutors are calling a Pleasanton university a sham and front that's illegally providing immigration status to foreign nationals.

January 21, 2011 6:38:43 PM PST
Federal prosecutors say an East Bay university is a sham that's made millions selling student visas to illegal immigrants.

Tri-Valley University based has offered online courses since 2008 with a faculty list of more than 50 highly educated professionals. the federal government says the Pleasanton-based school is a fraud and wants court permission to seize four properties bought with tuition money including the university office building and this luxury home owned by founder Susan Su.

The court filing states, "Since its inception, however, Tri-Valley has been a sham university which Su, and others, have used to facilitate foreign nationals in illegally acquiring student immigration status that authorizes them to remain in the United States."

Su says there has been a misunderstanding and added that every student pays $5,400 a year, the university is for real and she did nothing illegal.

"Make millions dollars that is true. You talk about our income, but we do not cheating, we suppose to be right. This is the standard we charge, so many students, we never forced anybody to sign up with us," she said.

Agents say the university was nothing more than a front that allowed foreign nationals to stay in this country illegally.

While ABC7 was at thr Boulder court address, a San Jose State student came by, because he says his cousin in Florida is a TVU student and is worried.

"He's on F-1, so he got all the F-1 visas processed going, and found out the university is closing and is worried about his status," Niral Trivedi said.

Federal agents seized dozens of computers and other evidence and they can't talk about student status or any future action against Su.

"For me, I want to prove myself. I am going to have to find a lawyer. I really did not know the rule," Su said.

The government says evidence it seized will help it determine the scope of the scheme and any future charges.