An Indian national has pleaded guilty to five federal charges for his participation in a fraudulent scheme to obtain false H-1B visas for foreign workers. It is reported that he executed a fraudulent scheme by submitting materially false documents to obtain H1B visas for foreign nationals seeking employment in the U.S.
As the President of a Delaware company, he and others falsely represented to the DOL and USCIS that the company was hiring H-1B visa holders to work directly for the company, but contrary to the statements made on DOL and USCIS forms when the applicants were granted H-1B visas they were placed in work locations with various companies throughout the U.S. He has admitted that he submitted false documentation to DOL and USCIS and that he made materially false statements on the relevant forms in order to obtain approval of the H1B visas.
In addition to filing fraudulent paperwork, he and others also engaged in an illegal scheme to recruit, solicit, entice and hire individuals outside the U.S. to apply for H-1B visas and to obtain work in the U.S. On occasions when he and his co-conspirators failed to find employment for the H-1B visa workers the company had recruited, these workers were "benched" in the U.S. while waiting for another job assignment. However, contrary to the salary claims made in the application forms, these workers received little or no pay from the company.
It is reported that he and others also attempted to hide their fraudulent activities during a scheduled inspection visit of the company's offices. In anticipation of the visit, he and others had set up work stations, moved in furniture and recruited several persons to pretend to be the company’s workers for the duration of the inspection visit, when, in fact, the office space prior to the site visit had been empty and unoccupied. When law enforcement and immigration agents returned to the company's offices a month after the site visit, the office space was dark and unoccupied.
He was charged with and has pleaded guilty to:
- one count of conspiracy to violate United States laws (carries a maximum prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine);
- one count of presenting fraudulent immigration documents (carries a maximum prison term of 10 years and a $250,000 fine);
- one count of hiring at least 10 unauthorized aliens within a one year period (carries a maximum prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine);
- one count of hiring recruiting, and referring for a fee for employment an unauthorized alien (carries a maximum prison term of six months and a $100,000 fine); and
- one count of money laundering conspiracy (carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed the value of the funds involved).
He has also agreed to pay restitution to any victims harmed by his fraudulent conduct, and the final restitution amount will be determined by the court.