Tech company admits to H-1B visa fraud involving Indians

PTI Houston | Updated on June 02, 2021

Cloudgen LLC said it recruited IT workers from India; falsely procured H-1B visas for them to enter and work in the US

An Indian technology company, which also has its office in Houston, has admitted to a conspiracy of committing a major H-1B visa fraud, according to an official statement.

Cloudgen LLC, a consulting and strategic solutions company, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit visa fraud from March 2013 to December 2020 through its corporate representative Jomon Chakkalakkal, a statement by the department of justice said.

Also read: US tech companies sue Citizenship and Immigration Services for $350 mn

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

During the plea, the company admitted to recruiting multiple information technology (IT) workers from India and falsely procuring H-1B visas for them to enter and work in the US.

“Specifically, in this bench and switch scheme, the company would file documents with the Departments of Labour (DOL) and Homeland Security (DHS) containing fraudulent statements about the availability of work at third-party national employers,” the statement said.

“Cloudgen would then submit forged contracts stating each third-party company had a job for the individual Indian national. Next, based on those false documents, Cloudgen would submit paperwork to get an H-1B worker’s visa for the Indian nationals. When granted, they would use that visa to allow the Indian nationals to enter the United States,” said the department in its statement.

However, because the jobs were fake, they were housed in different locations across the country while Cloudgen obtained other employment for them.

Such action gave Cloudgen a competitive advantage by having a steady “bench” or supply of visa-ready workers to send to different employers based on market needs when the true process actually takes some time.

Once workers had obtained new employment, the “switch” would occur when the new third-party company filed immigration paperwork for the foreign workers.

Cloudgen took a percentage of the worker’s salary as their fees, earning approximately $493,516.28 in profits during the course of the conspiracy. Chief US District Judge Lee H Rosenthal will announce the sentencing on September 16, the statement said.

At the time of sentencing, the company could have to pay up to $500,000 or the greater of twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss as well as a maximum five years of probation.

Published on June 02, 2021

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