In an arrest that strikes an eerie resemblance to the pilots involved in 9/11, a Lake Elsinore woman was arrested on November 30, 2011, and charged with illegally helping foreign citizens enter the U.S. for flight training programs on student visas. Authorities believe that Karena Chuang, 28, helped citizens from Egypt, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan. She had the students apply for the visas using flight programs that are authorized to accept foreign students. Once the students were approved, however, she enrolled them in her own school which does not have such authorization.
Ms. Chuang’s pilot training facility is called Blue Diamond Aviation. This school is not authorized to accept foreign students as it does not comply with the necessary requirements. These regulations were put in place following 9/11 due to the extreme national security threat posed by visa fraud at flight schools. Ms. Chuang was able to lure students by offering lower tuition and a shorter curriculum time.
When assisting her potential students in obtaining a student visa, she allegedly acted as a cousin and sought the necessary application documentation from the government-approved schools. Assistant U.S. attorney Rozella Oliver believes that Ms. Chuang’s motives for the visa fraud were financial, and not tied to terrorism. Federal officials began investigating Ms. Chuang in June 2010. She subsequently closed the school in July 2011 but reopened under another name, Wright Aviation Academy.