On January 8, 2021, the International Technological University (ITU) in Santa Clara, California, entered into a settlement agreement with the United States to pay $1,170,000 under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act to settle allegations related to student visa fraud.
ITU, a non-profit educational institution, participates in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, the component within Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that manages the certification process for U.S. educational institutions seeking to enroll nonimmigrant students. To qualify for a visa under the program, a foreign national must apply and be admitted to an approved U.S. educational institution, and then submit a visa application to the Department of State.
Between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2015, ITU did not comply with federal immigration laws governing the issuance of student visas. Specifically, ITU is alleged to have knowingly submitted false forms for foreign nationals seeking to qualify for a student visa, depriving the United States of visa application fees. Officers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Office of Fraud Detection and National Security assisted with the early investigation in 2010 and subsequently spent thousands of hours identifying hundreds of students who were not attending class as required.
The case is captioned U.S. ex rel. Saenz-Cambra v. International Technological University. Please note, the claims resolved by the settlements are allegations only.