Executives of Staffing Companies Charged with Visa Fraud
NEWARK, N.J. – Four executives of two information technology staffing companies have been arrested on charges of fraudulently using the H-1B visa program to gain an unfair advantage over competitors, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced yesterday.
Vijay Mane, 39, of Princeton, New Jersey; Venkataramana Mannam, 47, of Edison, New Jersey; Fernando Silva, 53, of Princeton; and Sateesh Vemuri, 52, of San Jose, California, are each charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud.
Vemuri made his initial appearance July 1, 2019, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court. Mannam and Silva appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court on June 25, 2019; Mane appeared before Judge Wettre on June 27, 2019. All were released on $250,000 bond.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Mane, Mannam, and Vemuri controlled two IT staffing companies located in Middlesex County, New Jersey – Procure Professionals Inc. and Krypto IT Solutions Inc. Silva and Mannam also controlled another New Jersey staffing company, referred to in the complaint as “Client A.” The defendants used Procure and Krypto to recruit foreign nationals and sponsor them for H-1B visas, which allow recipients to live and work temporarily in the U.S. in positions requiring specialized skills. To expedite their visa applications, the defendants caused Procure and Krypto to file H-1B applications falsely asserting that the foreign worker/beneficiaries had already secured positions at Client A, when, in reality, no such positions existed. Instead, the defendants used these fraudulent applications to build a “bench” of job candidates already admitted to the United States, who could then be hired out immediately to client companies without the need to wait through the visa application process, giving the defendants an advantage over their competitors in the staffing industry.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Newark Office of Fraud Detection and National Security; the USCIS National Benefits Center; and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, New York Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael C. Mikulka, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah A. Sulkowski of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Public Protection Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.