Kentucky man sentenced in phony school immigration scheme

DETROIT (AP) — A Louisville, Kentucky, man will spend six months in federal prison for his role in recruiting dozens of foreign-born students to attend a phony school in suburban Detroit so they could remain in the U.S.

Phanideep Karnati, 36, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court, according to The Detroit News. Seven other people have pleaded guilty and sentenced in the immigration fraud scheme.

Karnati recruited 74 people to enroll in The University of Farmington, authorities said.

The school was created by the Department of Homeland Security. Its offices were in Farmington Hills, just northwest of Detroit, but there were no classes or teachers.

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Recruiters were paid to help foreigners maintain their status as “students” and get work permits.

Karnati is a native of India. He is in the U.S. on a work visa. Authorities said he was paid at least $25,000.

About 250 “students” have been forced to leave the country, the newspaper reported.

“These weren’t students. They were fraudsters,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said. “They knew they were cheating. They knew they were lying to the government.”

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