A Colorado CEO is accused of luring foreigners to the United States to work for a nonexistent university and then stealing portions of their salaries after setting them up with other jobs in what the government has called an "elaborate scheme."
Kizzy Kalu, 47, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., allegedly enticed foreign nurses to work as teachers at an Adam University in Denver, an institution that Kalu's alleged accomplice, Philip Langerman, 77, of McDonough, Ga., made up, according to a federal indictment.
Langerman was also indicted, but remains at large. Kalu is being held by U.S. Marshals, and phone calls to his companies were not returned.
Kalu promised a salary of between $68,000 and $72,000 annually for the fictional teaching positions through the Foreign Healthcare Professional Group (FHPG), a company he operated, according to the indictment. The fictional positions were considered to be "specialty occupations" under U.S. immigration regulations.
Langerman obtained state authorization in 2005 for Adam University to deliver degree programs in Colorado, based on false claims, according to the indictment. This status permits a university to submit an unlimited number of H-1B specialty occupation visas, which allow a foreign national to be employed while in the United States.
The foreign nationals had to pay fees to FHPG and Kalu in exchange for assistance in obtaining the visas, according to the indictment.
Once they were in the United States, Kalu informed them that the aforementioned positions were no longer available, and put them to work at various long-term care facilities, the indictment states.
The facilities paid the foreign nationals' salaries to Kalu's company, but Kalu allegedly passed on only 65 percent of the wages to his employees, which was 50 percent of the salary originally promised to them by FHPG and less than 50 percent of what Adam University told the United States they would be paid, according to the indictment.
Kalu was arrested without incident last Sunday and arraigned Thursday when a federal magistrate judge ordered that he be released on bond. The U.S. Attorney's Office immediately appealed to the District Court, which then ordered that Kalu not be released until the appeal is heard Thursday. Kalu is in federal custody, being held by the U.S. Marshals, despite other news reports that he is out on bond, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"He was not let off on bond. Those stories are completely inaccurate," Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, told ABC News today.
Dorschner said the U.S. Attorney's Office believes Kalu is a flight risk. "The reason we don't want him released is we think he will flee the country and not return for future court appearances," said Dorschner.
Kalu faces 132 charges, including visa fraud, forced labor, money laundering, human trafficking, criminal forfeiture and mail fraud. If convicted, he could spend up to 20 years in prison.
Langerman is listed as a Ph.D and one of Adam University's directors, according to the indictment. Kalu is a graduate of the University of Jos in Nigeria, according to his online LinkedIn profile.