According to the U.S. attorney’s office, two executives from a computer chip design product and services company have had charges filed against them for submitting fraudulent H-1B visa applications as well as laundering $1,000,000 in money they received from this activity.
These two executives from Santa Clara, CA, appeared in federal court in San Jose, where they were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and two counts of visa fraud. One of the executives was also charged with a count of money laundering.
The attorneys representing these executives say that the executives will fight the charges. The attorneys claim that the accusations by the government are “a misuse and misapplication of the complex H-1B visa laws.”
One of the attorneys stated that “We believe we will ultimately prevail as the allegations are based on withdrawn policies that the Trump administration attempted to enforce that discriminated against Indian entrepreneurs and harm the economic agility of Silicon Valley.”
The two executives have been accused of submitting 85 fraudulent H-1B visa applications. These applications were submitted for PerfectVIPs to sponsor temporary nonimmigrant workers from 2011 through April 2017. The executives are alleged to have claimed that PerfectVIPs were employing the workers to work on projects at the company’s office locations or in-house projects. However, after the applications were approved, the executives placed the H-1B workers in a pool, and the workers were instead placed in positions with other employers.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that this practice gave PerfectVIPs an illegal and unfair advantage over employment staffing firms. Additionally, The U.S. attorney’s office stated that the indictment also alleges that other employers paid PerfectVIPs almost $7 million to cover the costs of the employees’ salaries and wages and provide a profit markup for the company.
An attorney for the executives claimed that PerfectVIPs observed all H-1B policies, such as notifying the government when the engineers changed from one location to another. The attorney also stated that the employees work from home sometimes just like other employees, and at other times they work at the job site specified by the client.
Additionally, the attorney said that the job site does not matter as long as the employee is paid the appropriate wages but that the company did fill out the proper paperwork and notify the government when the job site was moved. According to the attorney, United States Customs and Immigration Service officials from the previous administration are misleading the U.S. Department of Justice into believing that H-1B visas should not be issued unless the exact job site is specified. However, the attorney claims that providing the exact location of the job site is not legally required.
If the two executives are convicted, they could receive prison sentences of up to five years for the conspiracy to commit visa fraud count along with prison sentences of up to 10 years for each charge of visa fraud. The executive charged with money laundering could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The executives could also be required to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for each of the counts.
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