I've previously posted about the "University of Farmington," the fake college pyramid scheme sting operation that ICE set up in order to seduce and capture devious immigrants of various statuses who had the gall to, uhh … want to go to college.
Most of the coverage on this story originates comes from Niraj Warikoo at the Detroit Free Press:
The latest update shares some transcripts from undercover recordings, obtained by the Free Press, that shed light on the alleged entrapment techniques that ICE employed to trick immigrants into attending their fake university, and then engaging in the recruitment scams that were allegedly "required" in order for the students to maintain their statuses with said university:
Read the rest
In February 2018, a foreign student from India called a university in metro Detroit to ask when classes would start.
"University of Farmington, office of admissions," answered a woman who posed as a university official. The woman was actually an undercover agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
"Is there any chance to get me ... to know about my class schedule?" the student asked the university official, according to court records.
"Can we do what?" the undercover agent posing as a university official replied. "We're completely full. We don't have any normal classes to put you in.
For the last year, the Detroit Free Press has been reporting on the strange saga of the University of Farmington, a fake educational institution outside of Detroit. Homeland Security Investigations actually spent taxpayer dollars on an epic sting operation, renting out a building to create the appearance of a legitimate college campus staffed with actual ICE agents in order to apprehend…people who want to go to college.
As of November 2019, they've arrested about 250 people on immigration violations. From the latest Detroit Free Press update:
Out of the approximately 250 students arrested on administrative charges, "nearly 80% were granted voluntary departure and departed the United States," the Detroit office of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) told the Free Press in a statement Tuesday.
Out of the remaining 20%, about half of them have received a final order of removal; some of them were ordered removed by an immigration judge, and others "were given an expedited removal by U.S. Customs and Border Protection," said HSI Detroit.
The remaining 10% "have either filed for some sort of relief or are contesting their removals with Executive Office for Immigration Review," said HSI Detroit.
To be clear: this is not a new Trumpian phenomenon. It's been going on since January 2016 (although the majority of the arrests have taken place more recently, including 90 since this past March).
And if that's not maddening enough, consider that there were several hundred other students at the university who weren't arrested for immigration violations. The total enrollment was around 600 students, and the school was charging about $12,000 per year for tuition and fees. Read the rest
Asher Burke died in March after a helicopter he'd chartered to visit the Kenyan ranch he'd invested in as an "entrepreneur playground" crashed in high winds; his stateside obits called the 27-year-old deputy political director of the Republican Party of San Diego as an entrepreneur, the founder and CEO of Ads, Inc, "on a mission to disrupt the lifestyle industry with our advanced approach to product creation and marketing."
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Corinthian Colleges, Inc. was yet another for-profit university that screwed over hundreds of thousands of people with pyramid schemes that promised a higher education at the end of some labyrinthine maze. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2015, and the U.S. government ruled that any students with outstanding debts should have those debts cancelled.
That was before Betsy DeVos became the U.S. Secretary of Education.
DeVos, the wife of pyramid scheme pioneer Dick DeVos and brother of famed mercenary Blackwater founder Erik Prince, was unsurprisingly unforgiving of the students who were conned by Corinthian. She stonewalled more than 100,000 loan forgiveness applications and continued pursuing debt payments from screwed-over students who couldn't pay them back. In 2018, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim finally told her to knock it off (legally).
Spoiler alert: she didn't listen.
So they landed back in court earlier this week on Monday, October 7, 2019. Judge Kim was (understandably) quite irate at having her court order violated sixteen thousand times by Devos's department. While the issue is still not completely resolved, the judge did threaten the possibility of tossing someone behind bars. From Bloomberg:
"I’m not sure if this is contempt or sanctions," U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim told lawyers for the Education Department at a hearing Monday in San Francisco. "I'm not sending anyone to jail yet but it’s good to know I have that ability."
"At best it is gross negligence, at worst it’s an intentional flouting of my order."
I'm not holding my breath for DeVos to actually spend any time in jail or prison, of course. Read the rest
Pyramid schemes are illegal, but "multi-level marketing" schemes are not; the difference is supposedly that pyramid schemes don't really sell anything -- they just sell the right to recruit people who will recruit people who will recruit people, each paying up the pyramid to their "uplines" -- while MLMs supposedly actually sell stuff.
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Pyramid schemes are the perpetual motion machines of the business world. They seem like they just might work until you do the math. Don't be a sucker.
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Uganda is so poor that few can afford medical care, giving it one of the lowest life-expectancies on the planet -- this toxic combination made the country ripe for infiltration by Tiens, a Chinese Multi-Level-Marketing "nutritional supplements" cult whose members set up fake medical clinics that diagnose fake ailments and proscribe fake medicines, then rope patients into becoming cult recruiters who convince their friends to sign up for the cult. Read the rest
Betsy DeVos is the self-described neo-Calvinist and wife of the heir to the Amway fortune who's devoted her life to fighting against public education through a system of vouchers that allow for public funding of religious schools; in accord with the trumpian maxim of "a fox for every henhouse," she has been selected to serve as Trump's Education Secretary. Read the rest
Oliver's 30+ minute investigative piece on Mary Kay, Amway, Herbalife, Avon, Rodan and Fields and the rest of the MLM basket of deplorables shows how the Facebook era has supercharged these semi-criminal enterprises, entrapping thousands of people in a cycle of debt and deception that is fuelled by celebrity endorsers, including Madeline Albright. Read the rest