Washington: A 32-year-old Indian-origin immigration manager for an IT company has pleaded guilty for committing H-1B visa fraud in the US.
Hari Karne, who hails from Hyderabad, faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine if convicted.
According to federal prosecutors, Karne's conspirators recruited foreign workers with purported IT expertise who sought work in the US.
The conspirators then sponsored the foreign workers' H-1B visas with the stated purpose of working for SCM Data, a US- based company, and MMC Systems' clients throughout the US.
When submitting the visa paperwork to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the conspirators represented that the foreign workers had full-time positions and were paid an annual salary, as required to secure the H-1B visas.
"Contrary to these representations and in violation of the H-1B programme, the conspirators paid the foreign workers only when they were placed at a third-party client who entered into a contract with SCM Data or MMC Systems," the Department of Justice said in a press release.
"The conspirators told the foreign workers who were not currently working that if they wanted to maintain their H-1B visa status, they would need to come up with what their gross wages would be in cash and give it to SCM Data and MMC Systems so the companies could issue payroll checks to the foreign workers.
"Karne, who was a US immigration manager with SCM Private Limited in India, which had service agreements with SCM Data and MMC Systems, admitted that he advised foreign workers to pay SCM Data and MMC Systems in cash the approximate amount they were supposed to be paid by the companies in order to generate false payroll records," federal prosecutors alleged.
Karne further admitted that in February and March 2015, in response to a US Department of Labour audit, he assisted SCM Data and MMC Systems in the preparation of false leave slips for foreign workers that were submitted to the US Department of Labour's to conceal the fact that the foreign workers were not paid during those time periods as required by federal law.