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  1. Attorney and Spouse Sentenced to 2 Years Probation for Visa Fraud

    By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    After pleading guilty to fraud in relation to H-1B visas, New York immigration lawyer Loreto Kudera, and his wife, Hazel Kudera, the owner of several medical staffing agencies, were sentenced to two years probation and fined $25,000 each. Previously, they had forfeited $1 million.

    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.
  2. President of Company Charged with H-1B Visa Fraud

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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    Raina Massey, the head of Newark-based Care Worldwide Inc., has been charged with wire fraud, visa fraud and identity theft after she allegedly conducted a multifaceted illegal immigration scheme from February 2012 to March 2015. Massey has pled not guilty to the charges.

    Massey sought foreign individuals to allegedly work on H-1B visas in clinical research jobs for Care Worldwide, however, the company was just a shell operation, and the jobs advertised by Massey didn't exist.

    Several sets of victims were purportedly impacted by the scheme. One group of victims allegedly took part in "benching," in which Massey falsely indicated the victims would have technical positions waiting for them. Due to “technical problems”, Massey assigned them to menial tasks, such as handing out fliers on street corners. For other victims, Massey never applied for H-1B visas but still took illegal payments from them.

    Each wire fraud count has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, while the visa fraud count has a top penalty of 10 years. Massey’s arrest comes after an Administrative Law Judge for the U.S. Department of Labor ordered Care Worldwide to pay $291,708 to two H-1B employees after finding that the company and its president “benched” both of the workers.
  3. Federal Jury Convicts 2 Brothers of Visa Fraud

    By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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    On November 20, 2015, a North Texas federal jury convicted two brothers of felony visa fraud based on their conspiracy to secure a low-cost workforce at Dibon Solutions, their North Texas information technology consulting company, from March 2005 to February 2011.

    Atul Nanda and Jiten Nanda were each convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, one count of conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, and four counts of wire fraud. The conspiracy to commit visa fraud count carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. The conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Each wire fraud count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

    The government presented evidence at trial that as part of their scheme, the Nanda brothers recruited foreign workers with expertise who wanted to work in the U.S. The brothers sponsored the workers' H-1B visas with the stated purpose of working at Dibon headquarters in Carrolton, Texas. In fact, however, the business did not have an actual position at the time that the workers were recruited. The brothers knew the workers would ultimately provide consulting services to third-party companies located throughout the U.S. Contrary to representations made by the conspirators to the workers, Jiten and Atul Nanda directed that the workers only be paid for time spent working at a third-party company and only if the third-party company actually first paid Dibon for the workers' services. Additionally, in Dibon's visa paperwork, the brothers falsely represented that the workers had full-time positions and were paid an annual salary, as required by regulation to secure the H-1B visas.

    This scheme provided the conspirators with a labor pool of inexpensive, skilled foreign workers who could be used on an as-needed basis. The scheme was profitable because it required minimal overhead, and Dibon could charge significant hourly rates for a computer consultant's services. Thus, the Nandas earned a substantial profit margin when a consultant was assigned to a project and incurred few costs when a worker was without billable work. This scheme is known as "benching."

    The government presented further evidence that the Nandas required the H-1B visa candidates to pay the processing fees that the law requires to be paid by the company. The evidence presented at trial showed that the Nandas attempted to hide this by having the H-1B candidates pay the fees directly to Dibon either with cash or a check written to "Dibon Training Center."

    These convictions are prime examples of the criminal penalties that one can receive for H-1B fraud. They also add “fire” to arguments raised by Senator Charles Grassley of the abuses in the H-1B visas.
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