Washington: Four Indian-Americans, including a couple from the Silicon Valley, have been charged in the US with conspiracy to commit H-1B visa fraud among other offences, federal prosecutors have said.
The couple — Sunitha Guntipally, Venkat Guntipally along with two others Pratap “Bob” Kondamoori and Sandhya Ramireddi have been charged in a 33-count indictment filed last week alleging crimes in connection with the submission of fraudulent applications for H-1B specialty-occupation work visas.
According to the indictment, the four defendants allegedly used three California corporations to orchestrate the improper submission of more than one hundred H-1B visa applications.
In a statement, the US Attorney’s Office Northern District of California said the husband and wife team of Venkat and Sunitha from the Silicon Valley founded and owned DS Soft Tech and Equinett, two employment-staffing companies for technology firms.
Venkat served as the president and Sunitha as the vice president of both companies. Kondamoori, of Nevada is alleged to be the founder and owner of SISL Networks and Kondamoori’s sister, Ramireddy of
Pleasanton is alleged to have been the human resources manager and operations manager of all three companies.
All four defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud, false statements, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering and aiding and abetting these offences, the statement said.
According to the indictment, they submitted to the government or caused to be submitted, H-1B visa application materials stating that the foreign workers named in the applications would be placed at specific companies in the US.
However, according to the indictment, those companies either did not exist or never intended to receive the foreign workers named in the defendants’ applications.
Between 2010 and 2014, they submitted more than one hundred additional fraudulent petitions for foreign workers to be placed at other purported companies.
The indictment alleges that through their ownership, direction and control of DS Soft Tech and Equinett, the Guntipallys generated net profits from 2010 to 2014 of approximately USD 3.3 million and gross profits of approximately USD 17 million.