Vishal Dasa, 25, Anji Reddy Dirisinala, Ramakrishna Reddy Karra and Tushar Tambe each pleaded not guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Oakland to conspiracy to commit visa fraud.
Last year, an undercover agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement went to Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton and posed as a prospective foreign student whose student visa had expired years earlier. Dasa said "registration and tuition" would cost $2,800 and gave the agent a form certifying that he had been accepted as a student, ICE Special Agent Jason Mackey wrote in an affidavit.
"It has come. Now you are legal," Dasa allegedly told the agent.
The agent told Dasa he wouldn't be able to take the classes because he lived in New York and didn't have Internet access, and Dasa replied, "I will take care of that. ... There won't be any problem," the affidavit said.
The agent's form was later signed by a woman Dasa identified as his "madam." The woman in question, Susan Su, 41, operated the university and was indicted in May on charges of visa fraud, alien harboring and other crimes.
The roles that the other defendants allegedly played in the case were not immediately released.
Prosecutors said Su accepted money from foreigners, mostly Indians, in exchange for what was purported to be tuition and fees.
Prosecutors said Indian nationals paid about $2,700 a semester in tuition for visa-related documents that allowed them to live and work in the country on student immigration status.
E-mail Henry K. Lee at email@example.com.