By Devin Fehely

SUNNYVALE (KPIX 5) — The man who once led Herguan University in the South Bay has pleaded guilty in a visa fraud case that could impact the school’s students, many of whom have come from abroad.

Former CEO Jerry Wang refused to answer KPIX 5’s questions at his Santa Clara home about the case.

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Wang was indicted in 2012 on 15 counts of visa fraud, alleging he helped falsify the paperwork students needed to enter the United States and study at the university.

KPIX 5 has learned Wang pled guilty in federal court Thursday to a single count of submitting a fraudulent document, agreeing to a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and a fine of $700,000.

At Herguan’s campus in Sunnyvale, many students said they were confident the school could survive its former CEO’s legal troubles.

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“For every international student, this is our home. We can’t go anywhere else,” student Bishwash Lohani told KPIX 5. “I consider the founder of this university to be a second father. I consider Jerry to be like my brother.”

But Wang’s guilty plea could have serious fallout for the university. Homeland Security has already notified the school it could be kicked out of the student and exchange visitor program, leaving its overwhelmingly foreign student body scrambling.

Professor Deep Gulasekaram of the Santa Clara University Law School said, “It essentially means for those students that their visa status is no longer going to be valid unless they can find another school in which to maintain full-time enrollment.”

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Wang will be formally sentenced in the fall, while a dark legal cloud hangs over the university he once ran.