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The FBI has seized more than $10 million-including an $8 million investment account-from LaSalle University, a Mandeville, Louisiana-based Christian organization that grants diplomas through the mail.

An affidavit filed in U.S. District Court by FBI special agent Alexis Hatten cited mail fraud, credit card fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering as the basis for the seizure.

Despite the confiscation, LaSalle remains open. Thomas Kirk, president of World Christian Church, which operates LaSalle, said that a few accounts were not seized and the university continues to receive daily income. Kirk said the school plans to set up bank accounts outside the United States to which LaSalle's foreign students can send tuition payments.

Hatten's affidavit said during the past several years more than 100 LaSalle students have complained about various aspects of the school, including "its bogus accreditation," and the charging of significant hidden costs to students.

By Jeremy Reynalds.

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September 16, 1996

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