Woman Gets 16 Years for Running Fake University

Sudhin Thanawala, ABC News, November 4, 2014

A San Francisco Bay Area woman was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for running what prosecutors said was a sham university that served as a front for an immigration scam.

Susan Xiao-Ping Su, founder and president of the phony Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, was accused of charging hundreds of foreigners, mostly Indian nationals, tuition and other payments for visa-related documents that allowed them to live and work in the U.S. while she purported that they were here legally to study. She made more than $5.6 million and used the money to buy commercial real estate, a Mercedes Benz and multiple homes, including one at a golf club, federal prosecutors said Monday.

U.S. District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar sentenced Su, 44, on Friday after she was convicted in March of visa fraud and other charges. She was also ordered to forfeit $5.6 million and pay more than $900,000 in restitution to two companies that processed payments from students, authorities said. {snip}


Most of the students appeared to know they were taking part in a fraudulent scheme, said Mitchell Rose, a supervisory special agent with Homeland Security Investigations in San Francisco.

They received visa-related documents in exchange for about $2,700 a semester, Rose said.

Many of them left the country on their own after the school was raided in 2011, while others applied to regain their student status.

The Tri-Valley case is not unique in the Bay Area. Jerry Wang, the chief executive officer of Herguan University and the University of East-West Medicine in Sunnyvale, is also facing visa fraud charges in connection with what authorities say is a similar scheme. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to go on trial next month.

In the Tri-Valley case, employees testified that the school had no graduation and admission requirements, and that Su, of Pleasanton, instructed her staff to fabricate transcripts and other documents. Some professors said Su used their names, though they did not teach at Tri-Valley or have any connection to the school.

Tri-Valley described itself as a “Christian higher education institution” that provided higher education in engineering, business and ministry, according to court documents. {snip}

Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Reminds me of this movie.

    • Tim

      Ouch!! You beat me to it!! I posted before scrolling down. I hope you have Hobo Stab Insurance…

  • superlloyd

    What university is not a sham university in these absurd times? Extortionate costs for an unleavened diet of PC indoctrination and craven academics all toeing the liberated line for fear of losing tenure or employment or worse.

    • Magician

      I forgot 90% of all I learned a week after I graduated, and the skills I truly needed in the real world were not taught while I was at college

  • MekongDelta69

    You mean to tell me that the Ph.D. I just received in the mail (C.O.D. no less) from Tri-Valley University is NOT real and now I’m out $240,379.62?!

    That’s it. I’m rioting in Ferguson tonight…

  • IstvanIN

    The model minority.

    • benvad

      Where’s the defender of China, John I believe his name is?

      • Magician

        He is busy having sex with his Jewish girlfriend

        • You give the shrivelled up husk of a man too much credit. Implying that he has a girlfriend, and that any woman, even a jewess, would let his weak, effeminate hands anywhere near her consensually.

          • Jared Arrevois

            I’ll bet your sister would grease his weasel, all right. : )

  • SentryattheGate

    The other day Amren had an article about Chinese and Indian ACT and SAT cheating. Now this article on fake degrees! More reasons NOT to hire foreigners! But they will be hired to fulfill diversity goals. American jobs for Americans!

    • meanqueen

      Meet your new doctor.

    • Anglokraut

      What is an American anymore? That designation means nothing now.

  • Evette Coutier

    The administration at Harvard should get life for running a phony university. Any college That grants Obama and Warren degrees is doing something wrong.

  • She got greedy.

    It’s easy enough to actually offer classes with no standards, but that would involve some costs, paying a phony professor a few bucks to show up to an empty classroom a few times a day. A lot of these private universities are hungry for tuition money and are thus diploma mills anyway.

    • evilsandmich

      Not greedy enough perhaps. Public universities in my state sock foreigners with about $15,000 a semester in charges. Obviously if you show up with $15,000 they’re going to find a seat in a class to shove you into.

      • Samuel Hathaway

        We reserve the right to “sock” it to foreigners for any amount we deem necessary for the privilege of even breathing air on this continent.

    • Samuel Hathaway

      Look at the bright side. Ms. Xiao-Ping Su, obviously Chinese, at least had the sound judgement to avoid offering garbage courses in African studies that featured assignments in channeling the inner-racist of every white person you ever met.

    • WR_the_realist

      Precisely. There’s only a small difference between the scam that Susan Xiao-Ping Su ran and what a lot of third rate “legitimate” universities do.

    • I listened to a radio ad on my way home from shopping yesterday, in which one of these private diploma mills was offering the same skilled trade classes one can pick up – quite inexpensively – at Pikes Peak Community College. For my old welding and machining classes, I got some hefty tuition discounts for being an unemployed ex-con. If I’d been a disabled veteran, they would have been almost free. I have trouble imagining how a private university could compete with that.

  • Bossman

    Whenever I see stories like that, it is always East Asians and South Asians that are involved in those kinds of operations. It seems these people will do anything and spend a lot of money just to get themselves into the USA.

    • Samuel Hathaway

      Gasp! You mean to tell us that East Asians and South Asians will do anything to get in the U.S.A. Why..that…sounds…. so… PREJUDICED.

      • Bossman

        I’m only stating facts based on statistics. I saw in the news that 60% of Chinese millionaires want to leave China and guess what! Their first choice is the West Coast of the USA as a place to move to.

    • Unlike greaseritos who merely come here to “work”.

      • Bossman

        Why else would they come? The climate is so much better there.

        • I have a simple explanation: “gibsmedats”. Here they get reduced-rent housing, WIC, food stamps, etc. The USDA even advertises the food stamp program in Mexico. That’s like leaving food scraps around one’s home. Eventually one has a cockroach problem, and then spiders arrive to prey on the cockroaches. The end result is that one rolls onto a black widow in bed one night and gets bit, and that’s no fun.

          Handing out freebies to illegals constitutes an attractive nuisance.

    • WR_the_realist

      Mexicans will pay a lot of money to coyotes to get themselves into the USA.

      Now if only this was as viciously racist country as the left says it is, all those third worlders would stay home.

    • benvad


  • Tim

    “Dude! You HAVE to hook me up with one of these acceptance letters. My Dad wants me to start driving a bus…”-

  • Adolf Verloc

    Well, at least the “students” here got what they were looking for, not like some of our veterans who have racked up huge loans to attend scam schools just a little better than this.

  • Samuel Hathaway

    All this diversity enrichment is just tickling me pink. Fake universities accepting fake students who know all about it anyway, Susan Xiao-Ping Su… feeding her greed for $$$ and fancy good life, at the expense of East Indians. The beauty of diversity…. I’m just pleased as PUNCH over it.

  • MBlanc46

    This didn’t say anything about ten years in the joint that she deserves for this atrocity.

    • Luca

      Your statement is based upon your wish that universities were temples of higher learning that should righteously favor their own citizenry. In this brave, new world they are nothing more than liberal indoctrination camps and businesses producing diplomas for students who don’t deserve them, haven’t earned them, are under-achievers but are also well subsidized by government loans or by foreign money.

      • MBlanc46

        Can’t disagree with much of that, but if we can’t take back higher education we sure can’t take back the country.

    • One of my Japanese friends was refused entry to Australia for grad school for those reasons. She’s a first-rate chemical engineer, but her English was a bit weak. She ended up doing her MS at Louisville, KY, in epitaxial thin-film diamond growth. I visited her there just after Christmas in early 1998, and suggested carbon nitride via decomposition of melamine, but I guess none of those experiments were tried. Tungsten carbide thin films could also be grown, starting with hexamethyl tungsten, but I don’t think anyone has done that, either.

      The Australians really wanted competent English-speakers. This unfortunately means they get Hindu Indians rather than Japanese, but it’s their country to wreck if they want.

      • MBlanc46

        There are certainly first-rate Japanese universities. She couldn’t get a place at one of them? As far as the Subcontinentals go, they’re the first I’d send packing, followed immediately by the Chinese.

        • She initially wanted to come to Sydney because I was there. 😎

          • MBlanc46

            That explains everything.

  • Magician

    “Susan Xiao-Ping Su”…..


    • Samuel Hathaway

      What time is she serving up Kung Pao Chicken with a mess of fried rice and egg rolls?

  • Korean guy

    I might sound like I am defending the president of the Tri-Valley University but,

    I find it absolutely ridiculous and baffling that when a black man named Jesse Smithers suckerpunched a man named Colton Gleason, and ended the victim’s life, he received 10 years, and he will be released after five years if he does not do anything wrong while in jail.

    And this person, who did not harm or physically injure anyone directly, received 16 years.

    And another thing that I felt, after reading this article, is that USA is neither “actively importing” immigrants from other countries around the world, nor making it virtually free and easy to enter the country and live there permanently.

    • This case was in a different jurisdiction. The article mentions immigration fraud, which instantly made it federal. Su has not only received 16 years, but since parole was abolished in the federal prison system for all cases after 1986, she will have to serve 14 years of that, even with maximum time off for good behavior (which is one day off for each week actually served). Worse still, from her standpoint, anyone with a sentence of more than 10 years in the feds is considered an “escape risk”, and is not camp-eligible, so Su will be going straight to a medium-security facility.

      The article mentions “hundreds” of foreigners, so I suspect it was the sheer number of counts in the indictment that got Su that lengthy sentence.

    • Bossman

      You’re right about the fact that the USA makes it very difficult to immigrate legally; that is why the hordes from the Third World are using dishonest and illegal means to enter the USA.

    • Magician

  • Gary John 金白龍

    Let’s see what that Chinese Nationalist maiden (a frequent poster) has to say about this. Ha.

  • Kris Chringle

    This is nothing new. People have been getting college degrees for black studies, women’s studies, Urban Studies, Ethnic Studies, Hispanic heritage, and so on. So perhaps, anyone offering a “Fake education” should be jailed, as well. And boy, would our prisons be full.

    • The difference is that everyone knows these degrees are not real. A black studies degree only means that the recipient is able to whine about YT. A women’s studies degree likewise means that the recipient is able to whine about men. How many of these folks take courses that require some genuine academic rigor, such as stellar evolution or quantum mechanics?

      If I were a prospective employer, even assuming I did not immediately shred an application by someone with one of those garbage degrees, I would insist upon a writing sample. In fact, I would probably assign one on a topic of my own choosing, complete with a literature search and references. This means that sub-literate LaBongoleesha with a worthless piece of paper as her degree isn’t getting hired.

  • meanqueen

    Why don’t I ever get good ideas like this?

    • Most of us aren’t crooks. The humorous aspect to this case is that Su simply didn’t know when to quit. If at some point she had called it “enough” and left for China with all her ill-gotten money, prosecutors couldn’t have done anything at all, because China does not have an extradition treaty with the US. She could have banked all that money there and lived very, very comfortably. This was a classic case of “gambler’s ruin”.

      One fair question to ask is whether any of these fake “students” will also be prosecuted for immigration fraud. Obviously they knew they were not enrolled in a real university, as they were not attending any classes; this makes them accessories.

  • My sister does hospital radiology and ultrasound for a living, and one of her old co-workers got a degree in the same field, but from a private university. Their whole program is non-accredited, which means that poor gal bit off a huge chunk of student loan debt and still works as a medical office secretary.

    It isn’t just the completely fake universities that are the problem.

  • Earl P. Holt III

    Most “students” concluded that the curriculum was so undemanding, they would be remiss not to continue until they had received their Ph.D…