San Diego

DHS Investigating Identity Theft, College Admissions Fraud Ring

The University of California, Irvine, Los Angeles, and Riverside are mentioned in the search warrant

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is investigating an alleged identity theft ring run out of a home in Rancho Penasquitos.

A federal search warrant obtained by NBC 7 shows the Chinese National living there was paid thousands of dollars to get Chinese students admitted into California Universities.

According to the search warrant filed in federal court Wednesday, the subject of the investigation helped Chinese students get into the U.S. illegally and enroll into state schools by having imposters with fake ID's take entrance exams for them.

The University of California, Irvine, Los Angeles, and Riverside are mentioned in the search warrant that accepted applications or enrolled foreign students who used "Mayen International or Mayen Global services,” according to the warrant.

DHS investigators say the companies were run out of a second-floor bedroom of a home on Via Daroca.

Agents searched it for paper and electronic records concerning "enrollment in any college and, admissions applications among other things.”

Three women in a grey sedan were leaving the home as NBC 7 crews arrived and did not offer any comment. Multiple knocks on the front door also went unanswered.

Neighbors say the man who lives here is Chinese, approximately 28 years old, speaks little English and is rarely seen outside. NBC 7 is not identifying him by name because he has not yet been charged.

The search warrant indicates for the last three years, the sole owner and operator of Mayen was paid as much as "$25,000 per student to have an imposter take the SAT college entrance exam, the Test For English as a Foreign Language exam, and complete college applications." The imposters also allegedly used "fraudulent Chinese passports to gain access to exams."

Once enrolled with a student visa they could transfer to other schools participating in the Students and Exchange Visitor program.

They could stay in the U.S. as long as they kept up their grades and stayed in school.

According to the search warrant, a test proctor discovered an imposter during the language exam and notified diplomatic security services.

From there, the DHS used and an unnamed informant to lead them to the accused education consultant.

The search warrant does not indicate how much money was made over the three years the business was operating, nor how many students were admitted into college in that time.

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