Indian-American couple convicted for H-1B visa fraud

washington:An Indian-American couple has been convicted on charges of H-1B visa fraud and will face up to 30 years imprisonment, the Department of Justice has said.

Raju Kosuri, 44, and his wife Smriti Jharia, 45, of Ashburn, along with four co-conspirators fraudulently applied for more than 800 illegal immigration benefits under the H-1B visa program.

The indictment alleges that Kosuri has set up a network of shell companies that he presents to immigration authorities as independent businesses in need of Indian workers, but which he in fact owns and controls.

It alleged that Kosuri and his co-conspirators use these entities to file petitions for non-existent job vacancies at Kosuri’s data center in Danville.

The visa fraud scheme involves the forgery of numerous individuals’ signatures on visa petitions and exhibits without their knowledge.

The indictment alleges that Kosuri has generated gross proceeds of at least USD20 million over the life of the scheme, the Justice Department said.

The indictment also alleged that Kosuri and Jharia conspired with a consultant named Raimondo Piluso to defraud the Small Business Administration, by submitting fraudulent HUBZone applications.

Kosuri, Jharia, and Piluso are alleged to have concealed the true location, ownership, and employees of a business called EcomNets Federal Solutions in order to obtain federal loan and contract preferences, from which they have generated USD150,000 in loan proceeds and five contract awards.