Four Indian-Americans have been arrested on visa fraud charges. The executives from two IT staffing companies were charged with misusing the US H-1B visa programme.
Vijay Mane, 39, Venkataramana Mannam, 47, and Fernando Silva, 53, from New Jersey and Sateesh Vemuri, 52, from California were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, the Department of Justice said.
Mane, Mannam, and Vemuri reportedly controlled two IT staffing companies - Procure Professionals Inc and Krypto IT Solutions Inc - located in Middlesex County, New Jersey.
Similarly, Silva and Mannam also controlled another New Jersey staffing company, referred to in the complaint as “Client A”. They used Procure and Krypto to recruit foreign nationals and sponsor them for H-1B visas, which allow recipients to live and work temporarily in the US in positions requiring specialised skills.
The defendants allegedly filed H-1B applications in the name of Procure and Krypto, falsely asserting that the foreign workers/beneficiaries had already secured positions at Client A, when in reality no such positions existed, federal prosecutors alleged.
They further used these fraudulent applications to build a roster of job candidates already admitted to the United States who could then be hired out immediately to client companies without the need to wait for the visa application to be processed.
Vemuri appeared on July 1 before the US Magistrate Judge Steven C Mannion in Newark federal court while Mannam and Silva appeared before the US Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court on June 25. Mane appeared before Judge Wettre on June 27.
All were released on USD 250,000 bond, the Department of Justice said.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine.