Bible college chief exploited students
Foreign students who attended Cathedral Bible College in South Carolina, headed by its founder and president Reginald Wayne Miller, above, were forced to live in squalor and work long hours for little pay.
According to this report, after initially denying charges of fraud, Miller pleaded guilty earlier this week in federal court to Fraud in Foreign Labour Contracting, Visa Fraud, and Willful Failure to Pay Minimum Wage Fraud.
According to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office, evidence presented at the hearing showed that Miller recruited foreign students to attend Cathedral Bible College where he was president by means of false representations and promises regarding employment.
The release also says that Miller also made false statements on the related immigration documents for these student employees. And that once the students arrived in the United States, Miller violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay the students the applicable minimum wage.
The maximum penalty for Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting is five years in prision and/or a fine of $250,000, the maximum penalty for Visa Fraud is 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000, and the maximum penalty for Wage and Hour Violations is imprisonment for 6 years and/or a fine of $10,000
According to the initial indictment, eight students at the college said Miller were threatened with expulsion and the termination of their legal presence in the United States for non-compliance with his demands.
The international students worked on the Marion campus on student visas, and the warrant says they were paid below minimum wage. It also says they endured work schedules that were outside the bounds of those permitted by federal regulations.
United States District Judge R Bryan Harwell of Florence accepted Miller’s plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed a report from the US Probation Office.
Crooks and Liars has more details:
Miller falsely claimed on the F-1 forms required by the federal government for admitting foreign students that these students wouldn’t work more than 20 hours. Instead, the students reported they often worked over 40 hours per week on campus for $25 or less per week.
The criminal complaint stemmed from interviews Homeland Security investigators conducted in May with at least eight Cathedral Bible College students. Those students told investigators that the classes offered at the college “were not real” and the main focus of the school is having students work full-time hours.
The eight-or-so students who filed legal complaints also say they lived in substandard conditions without basics like heat, hot water, or air conditioning.
The students also told investigators that their living conditions at the college were substandard, including long periods of time without any hot water, heat or air conditioning. They also stated that the food provided by the college “was expired or insufficient for consumption and nutrition,” according to court documents.
This is Miller’s second run-in with law enforcement. In 2006, the Horry County Police Department charged Miller with lewdness and prostitution, saying he exposed himself to an undercover police officer in a bath house at Myrtle Beach State Park. Miller entered into a pre-trial intervention programme and the charge ultimately was expunged.