Dec 4 2011
CALIFORNIA woman arrested for helping foreign students get visas for unapproved pilot training flight school
Karena Chuang, 28, of Lake Elsinore, owner of Blue Diamond Aviation, was arrested for a fraud scheme that allowed foreign nationals mostly from Muslim countries such as Egypt and Sri Lanka to enter the United States for commercial pilot training at her flight school, even though it was not approved to train foreign students.
KTLA Chuang was taken into custody by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). She is charged with visa fraud in a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court.
The complaint alleges Chuang helped foreign nationals obtain visas to attend flight schools approved to train foreign students when the students actually intended to enroll at Blue Diamond Aviation, which was not approved to enroll foreign nationals in its pilot training program. Chuang recruited students by offering lower tuition and a shorter training program than those offered by the authorized flight schools, according to Mrozek.
Foreign nationals who want to obtain commercial pilot training in the United States are required to obtain an M-1 student visa, and apply to a flight training school that has been certified by the U.S. government to enroll foreign students.
“Visa fraud schemes, such as the one allegedly operated by Ms. Chuang, may be driven by promises of financial gain, but they directly compromise the security of the United States.”
Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles, commented: No one needs to be reminded why visa fraud involving flight schools poses a potential national security threat. Theres a good reason flight schools that accept foreign students must comply with extremely rigorous requirements and an equally good reason these cases are a top enforcement priority for HSI.
The charge of visa fraud carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.