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Former UNC Charlotte employee Thomas Briggs accused of falsifying visa records for more than 60 foreign students

Charlotte Observer
July 18, 2011
Federal prosecutors on Thursday accused a former UNC Charlotte employee of falsifying student visa information to help about 66 foreign nationals stay in the United States illegally.

Prosecutors say Thomas C. Briggs, who was an administrative support specialist in the school's Office of International Programs, entered false information in a database federal homeland security officials use to keep track of foreign students. They say he did so to harbor and conceal students who were staying in the U.S. illegally.

Court papers say Briggs committed the violations from around January 2007 to about June 2009. UNCC spokesman John Bland said the school discovered the problem and alerted federal authorities.

Briggs was terminated by the university in June 2009, Bland said.

Brigg's lawyer, Will Terpening, issued a statement this morning saying Briggs has cooperated with investigators, and has submitted to an interview "during which he truthfully and fully discussed his conduct."

The statement adds: "Mr. Briggs did not receive compensation or any other benefit from the conduct at issue here. Nor did he act out of any misguided political beliefs regarding U.S. immigration policy. To the contrary, he acted out of concern for the welfare of individual students.

"He regrets not properly considering the possible consequences of the situation, and accepts responsibility for his mistakes."

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