A Lake Elsinore woman who owned a flight school in La Verne was ordered Monday to spend eight months under home detention for helping foreign nationals enter the United States for pilot training, an ongoing security concern since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Karena Chuang, 30, who owned now-defunct Blue Diamond Aviation, was sentenced in Los Angeles to five years probation, including the eight-month home detention period, and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson said Chuang showed "reckless disregard for the immigration laws that are designed to protect this country."
Chuang pleaded guilty in 2012 to two federal counts of encouraging illegal entry to the United States for financial gain.
"I apologize to my family and my country," Chuang told the court. "I've learned my lesson."
Prosecutors said Chuang helped foreign nationals obtain visas to attend flight schools approved to train foreign students when the students actually intended to enroll at Blue Diamond, which was not approved to enroll foreign nationals in its pilot training program.
Chuang recruited students for her La Verne aviation school by offering lower tuition and a shorter training program than those offered by the authorized flight schools, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The investigation began in June 2010 when visa security officers in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Cairo bureau reported that two Egyptian nationals who had received visas to attend a Bay Area flight school admitted that they had, in fact, planned to enroll at Blue Diamond, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
— City News Service.