Pulling a Fast One

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Many foreign workers come to the United States through the H1-B visa program, which allows businesses to sponsor qualified workers from other countries who can provide specialized expertise in a particular area such as accounting, computer science or technology. An article posted on NBCDFW.com tells the story of a Dallas-area information technology company that recruited foreigners to fill open positions at their company, but pulled a fast one and contracted them out to other companies.

The story explains that although the brothers sponsored these workers to enter the United States on H1-B visas, they did not have open positions for them at their company. Instead, the H1-B visa holders were directed by the brothers to offer their services as consultants to nearby tech companies. (Talk about a bait-and-switch tactic. These workers thought they were coming to the United States to work for a particular company, but when they arrived, they discovered they had been ”benched.”)

Further research revealed that the family business only paid the visa holders for time spent working at a third-party company after the third-party company paid the brothers’ company directly for the workers’ services. (It’s also important to note that the brothers’ company falsely certified that the workers were employed by their company in a full time position with an annual salary. This is required to obtain an H1-B visa.)

As a result of their illegal scheme, the brothers were able to increase their labor supply with inexpensive but skilled foreign workers. Because the employees were used only when needed, the technology company was able to have low overhead costs. They did not pay any wages when the skilled workers were ”on the bench,” or not needed. (Think about how that impacted the workers. They had bills to pay too.) Furthermore, the brothers scammed the foreign workers by requiring them to pay the processing fees normally paid by the company sponsoring the H1-B visa.

The two brothers, who were in their forties, were each convicted on one count to commit visa fraud, one count of conspiracy to harbor people who were in the United States illegally, and four counts of wire fraud. A Department of Justice press release states that the brothers are each facing a maximum of 95 years in federal prison plus up to $1.5 million in fines. A sentencing date for these two-timing Texans has yet to be determined. (They are looking at some pretty stiff penalties. Let’s hope their criminal convictions ensure that they won’t be able to pull any more fast ones on the government or those seeking a better future in America.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Brothers Convicted in Dallas-Area Visa Fraud Case,” written by Staff and published by NBCDFW.com on Nov. 13, 2015.

Federal prosecutors say a jury has convicted two brothers on felony offenses stemming from a conspiracy to commit visa fraud to secure a low-cost workforce at their Dallas-area information technology consulting company.

Prosecutors said Friday that 46-year-old Atul Nanda and 44-year-old Jiten “Jay” Nanda were each convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, one count of conspiracy to harbor people who were in the U.S. illegally and four counts of wire fraud.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.