4 Chinese nationalists arrested, charged in college admissions scam

BOSTON (WHDH) - Four Chinese nationalists, all in the United States on F-1 non-immigrant student visas, were arrested Thursday on charges in connection with a college admissions exam scam, federal officials said.

Yue Wang, 25, Shikun Zhang, 24, Leyi Huang, 21, and Xiaomeng Cheng, 21, all are accused of conspiring to defraud the United States.

Authorities said the conspiracies involved Wang, who is a current student at the Hult International Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, agreeing to take the TOEFL exam in the place of Zhang, Huang, and Cheng.

The TOEFL  exam is an English language test recognized by more than 9,000 colleges, universities, and agencies in more than 130 countries. It is also used by the United States government in issuing, extending, or renewing F-1 student visas.

After Wang took the TOEFL exam in her co-conspirators places, authorities said Zhang used the fraudulently acquired score to gain admission to Northeastern University; Huang fraudulently used the score to gain admission to Penn State University; and Cheng used the fraudulently acquired score to gain admission to Arizona State University.

In each case, the United States Department of State issued the student an F-1 non-immigrant student visa based on their admittance to these educational institutions.

“Illegal schemes to circumvent the TOEFL exam jeopardize both academic integrity and our country’s student visa program,” said William B. Weinreb, Acting Assistant U.S Attorney.

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