Four Executives of IT Staffing Companies Arrested in US for H1B Visa Fraud

Three California men and one other from New Jersey have been charged by complaint for being involved in a scheme through which they falsely filed H-1B visa applications for foreigners under claims they already had a job in the US.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant US work visa which enables foreigners to work in the US in specific job positions such as professors, doctors, lawyers, engineers, IT specialists and similar.  The visa is also called the Person in Specialty Occupation Visa because applicants are required to possess at least a bachelor degree, and have a job contract with an employer in the US.

According to the US Department of Justice, four men, Vijay Mane, 39, Venkataramana Mannam, 47, and Fernando Silva, 53, from New Jersey while Sateesh Vemuri, 52, from California, have been arrested and then freed on bail after paying USD 250,000.

The arrested men are believed to have used the so known “bench-and-switch” scheme to commit fraud.

The Department of Justice explains that Mane, Mannam, and Vemuri controlled two IT staffing companies known as Procure Professionals Inc and Krypto IT Solutions Inc, both of them located in Middlesex County, New Jersey. At the same time, Silva and Mannam controlled another New Jersey staffing company, which the complaint refers to as Client A.

Then, Procure and Krypto filed H-1B applications falsely claiming that the visa applicant had a job offer at Client A. The visa beneficiaries then came to the US and got another job with other employers.

The four men risk a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of USD 250,000.

Similarly, last year an Indian CEO had been arrested in the United States, for committing fraud through the same scheme.  The 49-year-old CEO of two Bellevue Information Technology Companies is suspected to have fraudulently obtained H-1B visas for over 200 foreign workers and risks being sentenced to 10 years in prison and a fine of €250,000.