Kishore Dattapuram, Kumar Aswapathi and Santosh Giri were charged with allegedly submitting fraudulent H1-B visa applications for non-existent jobs. As per the court charges, the accused ran a consulting firm, Nanosemantics, Inc., which placed workers with other companies, and submitted fake H1-B visa applications so that they could have a ready pool of workers for placement with other customers.
In one case, they allegedly orchestrated payments by their company to someone for permission to list his company as the employer even though they planned to place the workers elsewhere, according to court papers.
According to federal prosecutor David Anderson, several visa applications submitted by them "stated that particular workers had specific jobs waiting for them at designated companies when, in reality, the defendants knew that these jobs did not exist". The three Indian-origin high-tech consultants will now be tried on the charges to determine their guilt later. The accused faces 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of US$ 250,000 for each count of visa fraud and up to 20 years of imprisonment for each count of mail fraud.
Importantly, the H1-B visas are non-immigrant visas are provided to professionals or highly qualified people. According to the US government data, in 2018, over 3 lakhs H1-B visas, or nearly 75%, were held by Indians last year. Also, the President Donald Trump's administration has announced a crackdown on visa fraud and changes to the H1-B visas system to give greater preferences to applicants educated in the US and to tighten the regulations governing the work visas.