Four Indian-Americans have been arrested for fraudulently using the H-1B visa programme to gain unfair advantage over competitors, said a US attorney.
Executives from two IT staffing companies – Fernando Silva (53), Venkataramana Mannam (47), Vijay Mane (39) from New Jersey while Sateesh Vemuri (52) from California were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, said the Department of Justice on Tuesday.
The Department of Justice said that all four executives were released on $250,000 bond.
One count of conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and fine of $250,000.
Mannam, Mane and Vemuri managed two IT staffing companies – Krypto IT Solutions Inc and Procure Professionals Inc, which are located in New Jersey and Middlesex County, according to Department of Justice.
Referred to in the complaint as “Client A”, Mannam and Silva in the same way managed another New Jersey staffing company.
They used Krypto and Procure to hire foreign nationals and sponsor them for H-1B visas, which is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign workers in specialty occupations to live and work temporarily in the US.
To speed up their visa applications, the defendants caused Procure and Krypto to file H-1B visa applications, fallaciously stating that the foreign workers had already secured a place at Client A, when, in reality, no such place existed, alleged federal prosecutors.
They instead used these fraudulent applications to put up a “bench” of job candidates already admitted to the US, who could then be recruited out to client companies immediately without the need to wait through the visa application process, giving the defendants an advantage over their competitors in the staffing industry.