Two former flight school owners in San Diego, CA have demonstrated exactly how not to get flight school students. Andrew Burr and Christopher Watson owned and operated Anglo-American Aviation in San Diego providing flight training for foreign students. After the 9/11 attacks the federal government created an online database called SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) so that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) could track foreign students enrolled at academic and vocational schools in the United States.
It turns out that the owners of the Anglo-American Aviation flight school issued visa documents to more than 100 foreign students even though the FAA had revoked their authority to train commercial pilots. To further complicate the issue the company employed some 11 illegal immigrants as flight instructors in violation of the law. "The actions by the defendants in this case not only undermined the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system, they also posed a significant national security risk," said Joe Garcia, acting special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in San Diego. ICE has located 53 of the 100 students, and the owners have been convicted, sentenced to 5 years' probation, forfeited $ 250,000 in illegal profits and have agreed to abstain from participation in any educational institution that services or employs illegal workers, or engages in flight training. The company Anglo-American Aviation, Inc. plead guilty to felony charges of making false statements and creating false visa documents, and will be sentenced on June 21. Out of curiosity, I wonder if they will put the corporation in jail? What, exactly, happens when a company is convicted of a felony? I will have to look it up, but I smell more money for Uncle Sam here. Of course the company now operates under a different name - American Aviation Academy - and continues to use the mailing address and phone number in San Diego. Oh, the company trained 2 of the 9/11 hijackers. Isn't this a great country, or what? Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!