Thursday, September 28, 2023
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Busted! Schools|Closing in Koreatown

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Three L.A.-area men were arrested Wednesday on federal charges of pocketing millions of dollars from immigration fraud by running four bogus schools that let foreigners stay in the country without attending classes.

The 21-count grand jury indictment includes charges of conspiracy, commit immigration fraud and money laundering.

The men made $6 million a year in "tuition" from the scam, the U.S. Attorney's Office said after they were arrested.

Three of the phony schools were in Koreatown, prosecutors said: Prodee University/Neo-America Language School; Walter Jay M.D. Institute, an Educational Center (WJMD); and the American College of Forensic Studies (ACFS).

The fourth school, still operating in Alhambra, is Likie Fashion and Technology College.

Charged were Hee Sun Shim aka Leonard Shim aka Leo Shim, 51, of Beverly Hills, the owner and manager of the schools;

Hyung Chan Moon aka Steve Moon, 39, of Los Angeles, who help run the schools; and Eun Young Choi aka Jamie Choi, 35, of Los Angeles, a former employee and manager.

The investigation began in 2011 after an unannounced site visit showed only three students at Prodee University's main campus on Wilshire Boulevard, though the school claimed an enrollment of more than 900. Another visit the same day, to ACFS, turned up one student, though the school claimed more than 300.

The bogus students, who lived across the country, paid up to $1,800 in "tuition" for 6 months at a school, prosecutors said.

The immigration charges are punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison, conspiracy by 5 years, and money laundering up to 20 years.

The men were scheduled for arraignment Thursday.

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