His schools, the Concord English Language Center and the International College For English Studies, had registered way more students than they had room for, leading authorities to suspect Behzad “Ben” Zaman was up to something fishy.
Indeed, the 52-year-old from Beverly Hills was sentenced to two years behind bars for using the schools as fronts where immigrants could obtain student visas, authorities announced Monday. Some of those “students” were, in fact, prostitutes from Uzbekistan and Latvia, authorities said.
Zaman was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. Federal officials said getting a student visa through one of his schools was as easy as coming up with the cash.
“This flagrant violation of our immigration laws shows how greed can compromise our national security,'' then-U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien said at the time of Zaman's April 2008 arrest.
Authorities said the 1,000 students listed at the two schools “far exceeded their physical capacity and was not supported by investigators' observations of people actually attending classes,'' according to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.