Two executives that worked at an information technology firm in Silicon Valley are being charged with H-1B visa fraud. According to prosecutors, the two individuals allegedly committed this fraud over the period of the last decade. Each of the executives was charged on March 31 with six counts of visa fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud.
One of the individuals charged was the chief executive of the company, and the other was the president of the company. The company was incorporated in 2008. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of California has alleged that these executives submitted 54 fraudulent H-1B visa applications between the years 2010 to 2020 to sponsor workers for nonexistent jobs.
Instead of placing the employees, they obtained through the H-1B visa applications in an existing job for their company, they lent the employees to other companies. These companies then paid them over $2.5 million, which was to cover the salaries and wages of the workers as well as a profit for the company.
The H-1B visa program is a way for employers to hire foreign workers for temporary jobs in specialty occupations that are located in the United States. Learn More
This is an important program for many tech companies in the United States as they obtain many of their engineering and coding workers through this program.
Employers must submit an application for each employee they intend to hire, attesting to the existence of the job and supplying details about the job, such as the wages for the job and its duration. After this is done, the employer must complete another petition, which requires them to attest to the existence of the job and give the location of the job.
Applicants are allowed to submit a petition for another company, which is called an end client. The H-1B employee would then work offsite at the end client’s company. Yet, there were no jobs at the executives’ company, and the workers never showed up at the other companies. However, the two executives submitted documentation that stated that the H-1B workers would be working for their company or offsite at the end client’s company.
There were end-clients listed on the company’s applications, but these companies either did not receive the H-1B workers, or it’s possible that they hadn’t intended to receive the workers. The executives instead submitted applications and then had the workers work for employers other than the listed end clients. The prosecutors stated that “Through this scheme, the defendants reaped profits and gained an unfair advantage over employment-staffing firms.”
If the defendants are convicted, they could receive a 10-year prison sentence for each count of fraud, a five-year prison sentence for the count of conspiracy, and a $250,000 fine for each charge.
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