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Immigration ploy: Feds nab 2 in plot

DULUTH - Federal authorities indicted two Gwinnett men this week who reportedly used a school for Korean-speaking students in Duluth as a guise to channel illegal immigrants into the United States.

Songwoo Shim, 47, of Lawrenceville and In Young Park, 36, of Duluth face conspiracy charges for encouraging illegal aliens to pose as students and providing them with the fraudulent paperwork to do so, authorities said.

Headquarters of the duo's operation was an "illegitimate" school called Humana Language Learning Center, located in a suite off Summit Ridge Parkway, authorities said.

Shim was approved by the Department of Homeland Security to run the school based on bogus documents he submitted in an application, authorities said.

The pair then allegedly used the school as a vehicle to obtain fraudulent immigration documents for at least dozens of illegal immigrants who held themselves out to be students but never attended classes, U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said.

"We will continue to dismantle and prosecute such schemes designed to thwart our immigration laws," Nahmias said in a release.

Shim allegedly submitted a necessary petition called an "I-17" to security officials that was full of forged or fraudulent letters from legitimate institutions.

Once the school was approved, Shim and Park ran an underground lab - first in an Alpharetta apartment and later in Duluth - that manufactured fraudulent student visas for foreign-born individuals who couldn't obtain them otherwise, Nahmias said.

They allegedly crafted resumes, school transcripts, diplomas and other documents used by aliens to support applications for non-immigrant student status.

The vast majority of aliens who obtained F-1 status through the suspects never attended the school, but instead began living and working in this country. Shim and his alleged counterpart banked thousands by charging for the fraudulent documents, Nahmias said.

The charges against Shim and Park carry a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $500,000. A federal grand jury indicted them Tuesday.

Both suspects are scheduled for a bond hearing today before a federal magistrate judge.