A 46-year-old Indian-American has been arrested and charged in California on charges of H-1B visa fraud.
Kishore Kumar Kavuru was arrested Friday morning and produced before the US Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen. He was later released on bond.
Kavuru has been charged with 10 counts of visa fraud and as many counts of mail fraud in connection with a scheme to maintain a pool of foreign workers for the clients of his consulting companies.
The accused faces 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of USD 250,000 for each count of visa fraud and up to 20 years of imprisonment for each count of mail fraud.
Since 2007, Kavuru was the owner and chief executive officer of four consulting companies. He is accused of submitting fraudulent documents to both the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security, containing details of bogus work projects awaiting the foreign workers.
Because many of the applications were ultimately approved, the Indian-American had a pool of unemployed H-1B beneficiaries that were immediately available for legitimate work projects, giving him a competitive advantage over other staffing companies that followed the sometimes-lengthy visa-application process, federal prosecutors said.
As part of the scheme, Kavuru required some prospective workers to pay thousands of dollars in cash before he would prepare and submit the visa applications. He also required some workers to wait unpaid, sometimes for months, to be placed at an end-client's workplace, the Department of Justice said in a statement.
Through his consulting companies, Kavuru submitted and mailed approximately 43 petitions for H-1B software engineers. "In fact, there were no software engineer positions available at the benefits company," federal prosecutors added.