Nine students from Nepal attending Kansas State University were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Topeka on charges of visa fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom.
The indictment alleges:
• The students conspired to maintain their non-immigrant visas by making false statements that they possessed funds to pursue their study at K-State while supporting themselves and their dependents.
• In the fall of 2008 all nine students obtained temporary possession of financial resources for the purpose of obtaining statements from financial institutions to support their claims that each personally had the needed funds.
• The students temporarily obtained funds from fellow Nepalese students and deposited the funds in their bank accounts. After getting the notarized bank letter, they returned the funds to the other students.
The indicted students from the South Asia country are: Mahendra Thapa, 33; Khem Acharya, 41; Raj Kumar Dani, 37; Santosh Ghimire, 37; Lila Ballav Pandey, 41; Laxman Pokhrel, 37; Keshar Prasain, 38; Govind Paneru, 32; and Narayan Chapagain, 43.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count. The state department and homeland security participated in the investigation.