BOSTON – A Chinese national pleaded guilty and was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for defrauding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in its administration of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.
Leyi Huang, 21, a Chinese national residing in Erie, Penn., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor sentenced Huang to time served and ordered her immediately removed to the People’s Republic of China. In May 2017, Huang and three other Chinese nationals were arrested and charged for their roles in a college admissions exam scam.
In 2016, Huang entered into an agreement with a co-conspirator to have the co-conspirator take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam under Huang’s identity. On March 5, 2016, using Huang’s Chinese passport and TOEFL exam registration, the co-conspirator took the TOEFL exam under Huang’s identity at the TOEFL exam center in Burlington, Mass. Subsequently, the TOEFL score achieved by the co-conspirator was fraudulently awarded to Huang, which she used to gain entrance to an American university that participates in DHS’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The university has a minimum TOEFL score requirement that Huang had failed to achieve on previous attempts. Once being accepted into the SEVP, Huang was issued a student visa by the Department of State to enter and remain in the United States for the duration of her studies.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; and William B. Gannon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, Boston Field Office, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Soivilien of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.