Private school founder accused of hiding foreign students pleads not guilty

Private school founder accused of hiding foreign students pleads not guilty

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The founder of a now defunct private school in Charlotte pleaded not guilty in court Thursday morning in a case that investigators said essentially boils down to human trafficking.

Channel 9 reporter Paul Boyd was in the federal courtroom for Evelyn Mack's arraignment. It only lasted a few minutes but, through her attorney, Mack pleaded not guilty and formally requested a jury trial.

[Charlotte school leader allegedly hid foreign students from Homeland Security]

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Mack is accused of making money by bringing in roughly 75 foreign student-athletes and falsely representing to the government that they attended her school, the Evelyn Mack Academy.

Prosecutors said the foreign students effectively disappeared with various basketball coaches and recruiters after arriving in America.

“We heard her plead not guilty through you inside, yet the government says she conspired to harbor 75 foreign students. Is there anything about that charge you can help us understand?” Boyd asked Mack’s attorney, James Exum.

Not at this point,” Exum said. “All we've got to say will be said in court, but we appreciate it.”

Boyd is digging through the indictment for new details on the case and asking federal officials if changes need to be made to the foreign student visa system. Catch his full report on Eyewitness News at 5 p.m.

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