The University of Northern New Jersey boasts a "high quality American education to students around the world." It offers "intense academics and real world business experiences." Sounds great, aside from the fact that it isn't real.
According to the New York Times, UNNJ was created as a sting operation by the Department of Homeland Security. It was designed as a way to understand the extent of the criminal network behind visa fraud. The operation caught 21 brokers who recruited foreign students. Many of the students were already here on visas and looking for a way to renew their visas.
The Department of Homeland Security employed undercover agents to work the university's phones. They negotiated with brokers, who were fully aware that there were no classes offered at the university. In response to the Department of Homeland Security's warning that there were no classes, one of the defendants responded, "We've been doing this for years, no worries." The university arranged fraudulent visas for 1,076 people, with brokers generating thousands of dollars in commissions.
However, the scheme revealed a breach in national security. Most of the brokers did not do background checks on their clients. Essentially, this gives anyone a way into America, including potential terrorists. UNNJ is not a one-time scam. There have been many instances of this kind of fraud in the past, including Tri-Valley University, a scam uncovered in 2011.
Director of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Sarah R. Saldana leaves scammers with one caveat: "We're out there, we have intelligence to identify you, we're going to find you and bring you to justice."
Lead Image Credit: Universal Pictures