Feds charge university founder with money laundering, fraud

Tri-Valley University was 'elaborate fraud scheme,' documents say

Federal court documents show Susan Xiao-Ping Su, the founder of Tri-Valley University and owner of two homes in Pleasanton, has been charged with money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud.

The university -- apparently operated out of a small, two-story office space on Boulder Court -- and the two houses were part of a raid last week by federal officials from ICE, the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement division of Homeland Security.

Court documents claim that Su ran an "elaborate fraud scheme" that netted millions of dollars from foreign nationals who hoped to become legal immigrants.

Su "made false statements and misrepresentations in petitions to DHS (the Department of Homeland Security) to obtain student visas from the government," according to charges filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Oakland. "Su and Tri-Valley University have made millions of dollars in tuition fees for issuing these visa related documents which enable foreign nationals (to) obtain illegal student immigrant status."

The document says Su used profits from her scam to buy five properties, including the two homes in Pleasanton raided by ICE last week -- at 2890 Victoria Ridge Court and 1371 Germano Way.

Although on its website the university claims faculty members from prominent businesses and other universities, Tri-Valley University was never an accredited university, according to federal documents.

Doors at Tri-Valley University remain locked, and calls to its single phone number remain unanswered; black plastic bags shroud the second-story windows of the office suite.

A search of the school's online catalog -- with a long list of spelling and grammatical errors -- shows the university claims to offer bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in everything from engineering to law to medicine.

The college catalog claims the campus "feature a state-of-art library, faculty-student lodge administrative offices and classrooms (and) research labs."

The school's catalog, however, shows many of its classes being held in the same rooms and at the same time.

Questions about the university have been circulating since at least last September, when a comment was posted on a consumer website that the school was not accredited.

A message from Su on the Tri-Valley University website says "programs at Tri-Valley University are designated with the key of integration: integration of Christian faith with academics, academic principles with industry practical application, integration of career pursuit with spiritual growth."

A hearing has been set for April.


Posted by nahid, a resident of Alamo
on Jan 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm

What about sullivan university ? It is also doing the same.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Danville
on Jan 27, 2011 at 9:24 am

Just the tip of the iceberg. These phoney schools are all over the US. They extort funds from wealthy overseas students and pay large fees to obtain the cherished student study Visa. Once here they often blend into the landscape and are diffcult to find.

Posted by G Singh, a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2011 at 8:35 pm

The whole US immigartion system is flawed. It encourages and promotes immigartion scams and frauds. All it needs to do is make a photo SSN mendatory with a finger print. The police officer should have a finger scaner to verify if it is fake. This is should be for all current natural born as well as naturalized residents.

It will cost peanuts compared to loss by illegals and frauds.

A heavy fine should be levied to those employers who hire an illegal (regardless of whether it results in loss of jobs for many employess in that business) A mendetory judgement within 3 months will be great.

Any police officer should be able to stop a suspicious person and verify the photo ID online right away.

The issue: US government and its elected officials are not patriotic and they don't want to solve this problem.

Posted by Student, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 30, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Scammers galore. There are lots of green colleges emerging as well. Looting the public funds.

Posted by Aron, a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2011 at 11:16 am

These scams need to stop. These "students" come here on visas and then take work from qualified American citizens.

I'm specifically talking about H1B Visas and the deluge of Indian IT workers upon Silicon Valley. Half of these "special skilled" works have no special skills and have attended a fake "IT" institution or an institution that is not on par with what American colleges offer. Jobs on American soil should go to American citizens first. We are perfectly qualified and willing to perform these jobs. Don't listen or believe in the argument that there are not enough software engineers. That is simply ridiculous.

Also, if a company like HP, IBM, Symantec, etc... layoff American workers, then they should be forbidden to replace them with H1B Visa employees. Even after the 1 year mark. Close the loop hole and scam which allows American companies to higher lower paid (slave labor) H1B visas.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 7, 2011 at 11:31 am

Frankly this H1B visa is getting out of control and its only purpose to lower wages further down. I work with many of these people H1B visa holders and their skill level is very low and I just cant understand why they cant train local talent to do these jobs.

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