News


Tri-Valley University president convicted in visa fraud scheme

Prosecutors: Pleasanton-based online school was bogus, designed to take millions from prospective foreign students

The founder and president of an online university based in Pleasanton was taken into custody Monday after a federal court jury found her guilty of 35 counts for running a visa fraud scheme.

Federal prosecutors alleged Tri-Valley University -- which was run by Susan Xiao-Ping Su, 43, of Pleasanton -- was a bogus, unaccredited venture designed to rake in millions of dollars from foreigners who sought to obtain student visas so they could stay in the U.S.

In addition to visa fraud, Su was convicted of conspiracy, wire fraud, use of a false document, false statements to a government agency, alien harboring, unauthorized access to a government computer and money laundering.

Prosecutors said evidence at Su's three-week trial before U.S. Judge Jon Tigar showed she engaged in a two-year scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by submitting fraudulent documents in support of the university's petition for approval to admit foreign students.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said that after Su obtained that approval she fraudulently issued visa-related documents to student aliens in exchange for "tuition and fees."

Prosecutors said that in Su's petition for approval, she made material false representations to Homeland Security about Tri-Valley University's admission requirements, graduation requirements, administrators, instructors, class transferability and intent to comply with federal regulations.

During the trial, prosecutors said, three purported Tri-Valley University professors testified that they never authorized Su to use their credentials in connection with the university and multiple employees testified that the school had no requirements for admission or graduation and she routinely instructed her staff to fabricate transcripts.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Su admitted and maintained student aliens in exchange for tuition and other payments.

Prosecutors said one of Su's convictions was for harboring two Tri-Valley University student-employees to help her in making the false representations to the Student and Exchange Visitors System, which the U.S. government uses to monitor student visas.

One of the harbored student employees testified that Su asked him to paint her house and to move furniture, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Su made nearly $6 million through her operation of Tri-Valley University and engaged in seven money laundering transactions using proceeds to purchase commercial real estate, a Mercedes Benz and multiple residences, including a mansion on the Ruby Hill Golf Club in Pleasanton, each in her name.

Prosecutors said authorities began investigating Su in May 2010 after they received a tip.

Erik Babcock, Su's attorney, couldn't be reached for comment Monday. Su's sentencing is June 20.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 26, 2014 at 4:30 pm

With the exception of politics, criminal enterprise is not a long-term career option.

Mike


Posted by jw, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 26, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Really, she fooled over 1500 students...how many of them knew that but saw it as their ticket to US. just saying........so now where do all these students go?


Posted by Deported, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 27, 2014 at 3:14 am

Will be interesting to figure out whether this was an endeavor put in place with ties to Chinese organized crime. Interesting that a number of FBI raids occurred within 2 days of the guilty verdict with former SFUSD board members Leland Yee and Keith Jackson being arrested.

'Tuition' can be money laundered into campaign contributions, not just physical assets. Reminds me of Xanthi Gionis and Thomas Gionis of Aristotle University in Carlsbad. Thomas Gionis was involved in a murder for hire plot some years ago, and Xanthi Gionis was running for State Senate last year when the school was closed.

Most of the TVU 'students' were deported right away, some transferred to University of Northern Virginia (UNVA) which was then closed so they were then deported. Only a few dozen of the students had actual qualifications allowing them be accepted and attend an actual legitimate university.


Posted by Karen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:37 am

I guess neither Yee or Ms Xiao-Ping Su got the memo, never, never cross paths with the FEDS. I remember every house receiving the Chinese newspapers each of the 3 days prior the the election against Romney. I guess we should read it more carefully next time...we need to know which candidates they 'own' or who they who they don't own.
I don't think Su should be deported to run a crime ring from home. Spending life in a 'Federal' prison would be justified.


Posted by Liberalism is a plague, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Just to be clear. People born and raised in this country don't engage in these kinds of crimes. What is worse, our liberal politicians, bought off by the Chinese and other immigrant communities, look the other way. This is why native Pleasantonians have difficulty getting there kids in college.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Mar 27, 2014 at 3:20 pm

SAY WHAT? Web Link

i rest my case...


Posted by Deported, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

May 2010?
According to SF Gate, May 2010 was when the operation against Yee was started:
"Chow was first introduced to UCE 4599 in May 2010, when the agent claimed to be with La Cosa Nostra."

UCE is Under Cover Employee


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Mar 27, 2014 at 6:08 pm

I believe that she should be imprisoned in a US prison. When she competes her sentence then she can be deported.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Mar 27, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Evidence that officials have been convicted of crimes: Web Link


Posted by kbenson, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Mar 31, 2014 at 9:45 am

I say sell raffle tickets and the winners get prizes such as her house, car(s) and other possessions she purchased using the money she "earned"

proceeds can be used to help educate children in the US


Posted by and?, a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 31, 2014 at 4:40 pm

the author of this article should know that his/her readers primarily want to learn of the possible punishment. at least offer to the reader what the range is in prison terms! i know judges have discretion, but throw your readers a "bone" at least!


Posted by Leave judging to judges and juries, a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Please do not associate the Gionis Family and Aristotle University which was closed with no basis for the action, and then the order was withdrawn with no explanation nor apology with this Tri-Valley case. There is absolutely no correlation, similarity, connection or commonality. The action by the State to close Aristotle University was quickly withdrawn when named as defendants. None of the defendants chose to testify nor appear in court. It may by more accurate to scrutinize people who get jobs as State employees who have the power to close down busineses with no objective data nor stated reason. The person who did this is now regulating the Contractors in California! She has never had to answer for her action against the Gionis family or the University yet was promoted to another "Regulatory" position. It may be more appropriate to ask, "who does she know?'. Facts are needed to make informed opinions and none were provided and in fact the State Regulator declined to provide any facts, just simply withdrew the action with a one paragraph press release. Web Link. The vast majority of for profit Universities provide legitimate, quality education to citizens of other countries and US citizens with the proper valid passports,financial stability and healthcare insurance, visas, USCIS requirements and I-20s. All Universities are required to meet the same regulations....UCLA and the smallest of Universities in a small town out in the desert..... get the facts and please do not associate all for profit Universities with identified and proven diploma mills, which do exist. Thank you.


Posted by Googler, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Aristotle University of Carlsbad CA has been closed according to BPPE. Googling "Aristotle University" Carlsbad reveals -

One citation was withdrawn, but the website shows current citations are: Web Link
Web Link

and that the State has ordered it to close Web Link

The old archived website Web Link does not seem to be operational. It was Aristotlelaw.com/Carlsbad.


Posted by promote her, a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 27, 2014 at 10:38 am

Sounds like she has the perfect credentials to be head of the Common Core program.


Posted by Seymour Cagney, a resident of Downtown
on May 21, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Hi, I need more information about "Xanthi Gionis" from someone who knows her. I am a reporter and need specifics about her and the work that she does. I can be contacted at (858) 204-9426. Please leave your name and contact telephone number for me to return your call, if I happen not to be in my office when you call, as I am working against a deadline. Thanks


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