Daniel Higgins, a 46-year-old California man, apparently ran a complicated scheme for seven years whereby he traveled around schools in Southern California taking examinations. Higgins allegedly ran a business where foreign students paid him to take classes to allow students to maintain their student visas.
According to an article by Anna Gorman and My-Thuan Tran in the Los Angeles Times:
Dozens of foreign students — all from the Middle East — were paying him to sit in class, take exams and write papers so that their student visas would remain valid, according to a charging document filed in the case. Students paid up to $1,500 for course assignments and finals and about $1,000 for English and writing proficiency exams, prosecutors allege.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents said the demand for Higgins’ services was so great that he hired staff, including a blond woman who they believe posed as an Middle Eastern man.
Demand couldn’t have been that great, however; Higgins is apparently being represented by a public defender. He pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit visa fraud and was released on $5,000 bail.