Phanideep Karnati immigrated from India, became an IT engineer, was earning a masters degree in Kentucky, married with two sons. On Monday, the 35-year-old Kentuckian appeared in shackles in a Detroit federal courtroom, arraigned on charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harboring aliens for profit as a recruiter for a fake university in Farmington Hills created by U.S. law enforcement.
Prosecutors allege he recruited students to enroll at the University of Farmington as part of a 'pay-to-stay' scheme where foreign students could remain in the U.S. while working. The university was created by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to lure in more than 600 students, of which 130 were arrested last week on civil-immigration charges.
Karnati's attorney, John Brusstar, criticized the government's sting: 'It is unfair for the government to set up something like this to entrap people.'