Owner Of Blue
Diamond Aviation Flight School Arrested On Visa Fraud Charges
By Mike Mitchell
December 2, 2011 - A woman who operates a flight school
in La Verne, California, was arrested Wednesday morning
on federal charges alleging she oversaw a visa fraud
scheme that allowed foreign nationals from Egypt, Sri
Lanka and Taiwan to enter the United States for
commercial pilot training at her school, even though the
school was not approved to accept foreign students.
Karena Chuang, 28, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., the owner
of Blue Diamond Aviation, was arrested Wednesday without
incident by special agents with U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security
Investigations (HSI). Chuang is charged with visa fraud
in a criminal complaint filed November 17 in U.S.
The criminal 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.
recruited students by offering lower tuition and a shorter
training program than those offered by the authorized flight
affidavit in support of the criminal complaint alleges that
Chuang applied for I-20s from government-certified flight
schools on behalf of foreign students by pretending to be the
cousin of the foreign students and, in some instances, paying
the application fees at these other schools. After I-20s were
issued by certified flight schools, Chuang allegedly would
direct the foreign students to take the forms to the U.S.
embassy or consulate in their country to apply for M-1 visas.
"Protecting national security is the top priority for the
Justice Department, and one important way to protect the
homeland is to have a secure system to control who enters the
United States," said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr.
"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."
"No one needs to be reminded why visa fraud involving flight schools poses a potential national security threat," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI in Los Angeles. "There's 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."
into Chuang began in June 2010 when visa security officers in the ICE
Attaché Office in Cairo reported that two Egyptian nationals who had
received visas to attend a northern California flight school admitted in
an interview that they had, in fact, planned to enroll at Blue Diamond
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