Owner accused of using school to traffic prostitutes

by: Richard Elliot Updated:

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DULUTH, Ga. - Federal agents raided the offices of a Duluth school whose owner is accused of conspiring with other employees to use the school to bring prostitutes into the United States.

A grand jury indicted owner Dong Seok Yi, along with Sook An Kil, the school's academic coordinator and Chang Seon Song, the academic director.  Yi is also the owner of The Korea Times newspaper published in the same Duluth building as the College Prep Academy.

According to the United States Attorney's Office, Yi and the others forged documents to get student visas for Korean women. He allegedly filed an application with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and was granted approval for the school to enroll foreign-born students and issue I-20 forms — which allow foreign students to live in America.

Song, 51, referred the women to Sang Houn Kim, 53, of Diamond Bar, Calif., who is accused of manufacturing fake documents the women used to support their applications for student visas, Page said. Kim charged the women thousands for the fraudulent documents, said U.S. Attorney's office spokesman Bob Page.

In a statement, the office said, "Yi allegedly conspired with Korean bar owners to enroll females into the school with the understanding that the females would not attend classes as required but would instead work as prostitutes in the bars."

The indictment also alleges the three profited by keeping the women on the student rolls.

The co-conspirators were indicted by a grand jury March 5 and federal agents Thursday executed a search warrant at the school. A bank account associated with the school was seized by federal authorities.

No one was in the offices of the College Prep Academy for comment.  There were employees at The Korea Times offices next door, but no one wanted to comment other than to say Mr. Yi is a good man, and they are shocked by the allegations.