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Flight School Owner Charged With Visa Fraud After Recruiting Students From Egypt, Sri Lanka

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Karena Chuang, seen here in a screenshot from a YouTube video, is accused of bringing foreigners illegally to her La Verne flight school. (CBS)

Karena Chuang, seen here in a screenshot from a YouTube video, is accused of bringing foreigners illegally to her La Verne flight school. (CBS)

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textalerts180 Flight School Owner Charged With Visa Fraud After Recruiting Students From Egypt, Sri Lanka

SAN BERNARDINO (CBS) — A woman who runs a Southland flight school has been charged with bringing foreign students here on fraudulent visas to learn how to fly.

KNX 1070′s Vytas Safronikas reports a Lake Elsinore woman is behind bars on Thursday after her arrest by federal law enforcement officials.


Karena Chuang, 28, owner of Blue Diamond Aviation in La Verne, was not authorized to accept foreign students for flight training, prosecutors said.

Chuang is charged with visa fraud after allegedly attempting to bring in students from Egypt, Sri Lanka and Taiwan, according to a criminal complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

She allegedly posed as the students’ cousin to help them obtain immigration papers and offered lower tuition and a shorter training program than those offered by the authorized flight schools, said Claude Arnold of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“People who are not authorized to come to the United States to get flight training could have exploited to do so, and potentially people who wish to do our country harm,” Arnold said.

Federal screening procedures for student visas were upgraded after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, officials said.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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