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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

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  1. IT Companies and Company Officials Indicted for H-1B Visa Fraud


    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    IT companies, SCM Data, Inc., MMC Systems, Inc., their owner, Sowrabh Sharma, and an employee, Shikha Mohta, have been indicted for fraud in federal court, accused of conspiring to lie on applications for H-1B visas for temporary immigrant employees. The falsehoods were promises of full-time, in-house salaried jobs to foreign workers when the truth is they contracted the employees out, did not always pay them their wages and falsified pay stubs to cover-up their unlawful actions.

    The defendants “benched” employees, meaning they did not pay them when there was not work for them, which is a violation of the law, and created false pay stubs to cover up their actions. According to the indictment, the workers were pressured into paying Sharma to create the fake documents that indicated they were getting full-time wages, and were told if they did not do this, they would not be allowed to stay in the United States.

    The visa fraud and obstruction of justice conspiracy charge carries a potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The alien harboring conspiracy charge carries a potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

    Stay tuned for further developments in this matter – guilty pleas, trial, etc.
  2. Attorney and Spouse Forfeit $1 Million for Visa Fraud

    By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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    A New York immigration lawyer Loreto Kudera, and his wife, Hazel Kudera, the owner of several medical staffing agencies, pled guilty and forfeited $1 million after admitting to giving false information to U.S. immigration authorities when applying for H1-B visas for foreign nurses, according to plea agreement.

    Hazel Kudera owned multiple staffing agencies in New York that specialized in providing nurses to hospitals, outpatient and skilled nursing facilities. According to the government, Hazel and Loreto Kudera submitted at least 100 fraudulent applications to authorities, and profited from filing fees collected from the nurses and from the health care facilities that paid Hazel Kudera’s staffing agencies.

    Hazel and Loreto Kudera falsely stated that the foreign nurses would be working in specialty occupations at prevailing wage rates when in actuality they were going to work as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs) at much lower rates of pay.

    As part of the alleged scam, Hazel Kudera falsified a staffing agreement between NYC Healthcare Staffing and Dewitt Rehabilitation listing job positions that did not exist, such as clinical coordinator and health care quality assurance manager, in order to cover up the false job titles she provided to USICS.
  3. Couple Indicted for $20 Million H-1B Visa Fraud

    By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC
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    A husband and wife and four co-conspirators, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Virginia on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States of at least $20 million concerning more than 800 applications for illegal immigration benefits under the H-1B visa program.

    The indictment alleges that Raju Kosuri set up a network of shell companies that he presented to immigration authorities as independent businesses in need of Indian workers, but which he in fact owned and controlled. The indictment further alleges that Kosuri and his co-conspirators used these entities to file petitions for non-existent job vacancies at Kosuri’s data center in Danville, Virginia. Kosuri is alleged to have required workers to pay their own visa processing fees, in violation of H-1B program rules; and he allegedly treated the beneficiaries as hourly contractors, again in violation of H-1B visa program rules. The visa fraud scheme involved the forgery of numerous individuals’ signatures on visa petitions and exhibits, without their knowledge.

    The three main co-conspirators, Kosuri, his wife, Smriti Jharia and Raimondo Piluso face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, if convicted. The other co-conspirators face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, if convicted.


  4. Wisconsin Becomes 7th State to Join E-Verify RIDE

    By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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    Wisconsin has become the seventh state, effective November 15, 2015, to join the Records and Information from DMVs for E-Verify (RIDE) Program. RIDE is an E-Verify initiative, in conjunction with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, linking the E-Verify system with participating state driver’s licensing agencies. The prior states joining RIDE were Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska and North Dakota.

    RIDE allows E-Verify to validate the authenticity of driver’s licenses and state identification cards presented by employees as I-9 form identity documents. The RIDE program attempts to mitigate the risk of fraud by comparing the data from the card with data supplied by states’ motor vehicle agencies. In this manner, RIDE is designed to boost the accuracy of employment eligibility verification in E-Verify.
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