Eight Indians indicted for helping illegals stay in US

Eight Indians indicted for helping illegals stay in US

File photos of the Farmington University in Michigan USA

Hundreds of Indian students mostly, from the Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, who were enrolled in the Michigan-based Farmington University, established by the United States authorities to catch foreign students who were staying in the US without proper authorization, are facing deportation.

According to an immigration attorney in Detroit speaking on a Youtube livestream, the students who may have been enrolled at the university were detained in Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte, and St. Louis.

The Homeland Security Investigators who are working on this case since 2015 said that the eight suspects were arrested who have aided hundreds of foreign nationals to remain in the United States illegally by helping them to act like students. They said that the university was part of a federal law enforcement undercover operation designed to identify recruiters and entities engaged in immigration fraud. The university was staffed with undercover agents working with the Department of Homeland Security.

The indictment papers published in local papers say that the University was not staffed with instructors or educators; it had no curriculum, no actual classes. It also says that the defendants helped at least 600 "foreign citizens to illegally remain, re-enter and work in the United States and actively recruited them to enroll in a fraudulent school as part of a 'pay to stay' scheme."

The indictments (2015-2019) say that , the defendants "conspired with each other and others to fraudulently facilitate hundreds of foreign nationals in illegally remaining and working in the United States by actively recruiting them to enroll into a metro Detroit private university that, unbeknownst to the conspirators, was operated by HSI (Homeland Security Investigation) special agents as part of an undercover operation."

Charged in the indictments were, all Telugus, Barath Kakireddy, 29, of Lake Mary, Florida,Suresh Kandala, 31, of Culpeper, Virginia, Phanideep Karnati, 35, of Louisville, Kentucky,  Prem Rampeesa, 26, of Charlotte, North Carolina, Santosh Sama, 28, of Fremont, California, Avinash Thakkallapally, 28, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Aswanth Nune, 26, of Atlanta and Naveen Prathipati, 26, of Dallas.  The eight defendants charged are accused of helping enroll the students in exchange for cash, kickbacks, and tuition credits as part of the "pay to stay" scheme.

“We are in touch with the Indian consulates in different parts to find out how many Telugu students are under detention in different centers who are said be prepared for deportation," Ashok Kolla a representative of TANA (Telugu Association of North America) said in a TV interview. He said that the association will try to help the students to stay in the country "legally" and urged them to get in touch with attorneys to get legal help. The students if proven guilty could be barred from entry into the US for some time and might get deported.