Even as she was facing charges for running a bogus university, Susan Xiao-Ping was working to set up another unaccredited university in the same Pleasanton location.
Su, 43, was indicted and her college, Tri-Valley University, was shut down after a 2011 raid by agents from Immigrations, Customs and Enforcement.
She will stand trial later this month on a 33-count federal indictment that includes money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud as a result of the sting. Federal court documents claim Su ran an "elaborate fraud scheme" that netted millions of dollars from foreign nationals who hoped to become legal immigrants.
Those documents say that Su used profits from her scam to buy five properties, including two homes in Pleasanton raided by ICE, at 2890 Victoria Ridge Court and 1371 Germano Way.
But while she awaited trial -- and asking for donations to help her fight the federal charges against her -- Su made plans to start a new university at the same site as her previous endeavor.
A report from the state Attorney General's Office says that Su, using the name of someone else, filed paperwork in March 2012 to start Global TVU at a small office building in the 400 block of Boulder Court, the building she owns and the home of TVU.
Chang Gui Su, under penalty of perjury, filed the articles of incorporation paperwork with the state. The Attorney General's Office denied the application for a new uncredited university at the site.
Chang Gui Su also asked for and received permission on Feb. 28, 2012 from the city planning department to operate a continuing adult education program at the site for no more than 20 students, agreeing in the application to comply with all local state and federal laws. The planning department is charged with making sure the intended use complies with zoning at the site, and because that is a permitted use of the building, no CEQA review was required.
Articles of incorporation filed with the state "do not list Chang Gui Su as an owner or officer," the Attorney General's Office says in its denial. "Ms. Su is listed in the corporation's application as a member of (the) respondent's faculty."
The Attorney General's Office lists a host of reasons for denying Global TVU's application. Those include making false statements, failing to disclose that Susan Su was the actual applicant, and for acts of dishonesty, fraud or deceit.
The list of those acts, which was included as part of the denial, gives some insights into the criminal case against Susan Su.
In an interview with the Department of Homeland Security in January 2011, Su admitted, among other things, that she'd had her staff list false U.S. addresses to help students remain in the country, that she'd had staff falsify grades and that she'd falsified transcripts, letters, attendance sheets and federal forms in order to assist individuals in obtaining visas to be in the United States.
In the matter of about 18 months, the university went from having about 11 enrollees with F1 student visas to more than 1,500; students paid $2,700 per semester to study at TVU. The closure left dozens of people, mostly from India, unsure whether they'd be allowed to stay in the country.
Federal court documents say Susan Su and her university "made millions of dollars in tuition fees" for issuing visa-related documents that allowed foreign nationals to illegally become student immigrants. ICE officials say she and TVU made more than $3.2 million in the visa fraud scheme.
In her statement to Homeland Security officials, Su admitted making "large withdrawals" from the Tri-Valley University bank account that included nearly $37,000 to buy a Mercedes-Benz, a $30,000 gift to her daughters and $75,000 as a payment to her spouse.
In a separate civil lawsuit, federal attorneys called Tri-Valley University "a sham university" aimed at helping foreigners obtain illegal student visas. The lawsuit, which is pending, seeks forfeiture of four properties in Pleasanton and a fifth in Livermore that were allegedly bought with proceeds of the fraud. The government now considers the students to be victims of a fraud and not perpetrators.
The application to open Global TVU was denied late last month; Susan Su is set for trial in federal court on Sept. 29. She remains free on a $300,000 bond.