Morris Brown Employee Sentenced in Visa Scheme Involving Illegal Immigrants
A former Morris Brown College employee was one of two people sentenced to federal prison for falsely providing student visas to illegal immigrants under the guise they would be attending the historically Black Atlanta college.
Leroy Evans, 57, of College Park was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison, and one of his three partners in the visa scheme, Abiola Lawal, 51, of Douglasville, was sentenced to 21 months and $6,100 in fines and fees, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case. Evans, who also was ordered to pay $9,700 in fines and fees, was Morris Brown’s director of international students.
According to a 113-count indictment filed in March 2003, a former Morris Brown professor, Julu Kothapa, 65, and an unemployed Lilburn man, Syed Ahmed, 39, assisted in preparing paperwork that resulted in the issuance of more than 50 visas, mostly to people from India and Pakistan between the mid-90s and September 2001.
Ahmed and Kothapa, who testified during Evans’ and Lawal’s trial, pleaded guilty to various charges in October, but the court has deferred sentencing in that case.
Ahmed, Kothapa, Evans and Lawal provided false documents to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service saying the aliens would be students at Morris Brown, when they had no intention of attending the school, the release states. The aliens were charged between $2,000 and $5,000 for each visa, and the defendants would split the cash.
Kothapa and Ahmed would recruit the aliens and prepare the paperwork, Lawal would sign financial affidavits, and Evans would falsely certify to the INS that the students were at the college, the release states.
Morris Brown cooperated fully with the investigation and was not charged as an institution. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigation into the incident found no links between any of the aliens and terrorism.
— Associated Press
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