Four executives of two information technology staffing companies have been accused of fraudulently using the H-1B visa program to gain an unfair advantage over competitors.
Vijay Mane, 39, of Princeton; Venkataramana Mannam, 47, of Edison,; 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, according to information provided by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
Vemuri made his initial appearance July 1 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. Mane appeared before Wettre on June 27. All were released on $250,000 bond, according to the statement.
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: 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 allegedly 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, according to the statement.
To expedite their visa applications, the defendants allegedly 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, according to the statement. Instead, the defendants allegedly 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, according to the statement.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.