A Highlands Ranch businessman was convicted by a federal jury in Denver on 89 counts including mail fraud, visa fraud, human trafficking and money laundering.
Kizzy Kalu, 49, will be sentenced Sept. 23 by Chief Judge Marcia Krieger in U.S. District Court and faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Each of the 89 counts also carries a penalty of up to $250,000. In custody throughout the course of the four-week trial that ended July 1, Kalu remains in custody awaiting his sentencing.
Kalu was indicted in March 2012 for a scheme that involved making false representations to foreign nationals seeking work in the U.S., to the State of Colorado, and to the U.S. government. Kalu lured nurses from countries across the world to come to Denver to work for Adam University, a university that exists in name only, as highly paid instructor supervisors.
He helped more than 25 nurses obtain H-1B visas to come to Denver. Once they arrived, they were forced to find work in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities where they worked for much less money than promised. Each of the nurses paid Kalu $6,500 for assistance in obtaining a visa and each signed a contract that said if they left his employment they would owe him $25,000.
Each of the victims also forfeited 40 percent of their weekly pay to Kalu, and his company Foreign Healthcare Professionals Group, under the threat that he would revoke their visa and have them deported if they did not do what was asked of them.
“The victims in this case remained in the country to testify, if needed, at trial,” said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado. “What happens next (to them) will be up to ICE.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations was one of numerous federal and state departments, along with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the case against Kalu.
Kumar Kibble, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Denver, called human trafficking a form of modern-day slavery, saying that “human traffickers use force, fraud and coercion to obtain free or cheap labor from their victims” in order to profit.
“Today’s verdict reflects (our) commitment to aggressively protect U.S. borders and the integrity of our travel document and labor laws,” said Michael Bayer, special agent in charge of the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.