indica News Bureau-
Indian origin Abhijit Prasad, of Tracy, California was sentenced to three years in prison and forfeiture of USD 1,193,440, for H-1B visa fraud and aggravated identity theft on Tuesday, December 17, by U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of California, Charles R. Breyer.
Prasad, 52, was charged of visa fraud, two counts of fraudulent obtainment of foreign visas, and two counts of aggravated identity theft and was found guilty by a jury on August 5, 2019.
The case came to light in Sacramento when a grand jury indicted Prasad in 2016. But the case was tried in San Francisco following a court order to transfer the case there.
According to the evidence at trial, Prasad filed 19 petitions for H-1B non-immigrant visas containing false statements, made under penalty of perjury, as to purported work projects to be performed at locations in California, including Cisco Systems.
Another court document stated that Prasad was the president and CEO of a visa services company- Maremarks- which he ran out of his house in Tracy, California. The false visa statement counts arose from Prasad’s operation of an immigration services business at Cisco Systems.
The evidence at trial showed that Cisco did not expect that the foreign workers who were the beneficiaries of the visa petitions would work at Cisco on an existing work project. The evidence at trial further showed that the defendant knowingly submitted forged Cisco documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in support of his claims that the beneficiaries would work at Cisco and Ingenuus.
The government alleged that Prasad had obtained H-1B visas based on misrepresentations to that same agency on two instances.
One of the principal requirements in the obtainment of an H-1B visa is the requirement of an existing work project for the visa beneficiary. Overseas specialty workers have to demonstrated need at American companies that cannot be adequately filled by American workers to obtain the H-1B visa, as primary factor.
The court document showed that Prasad recruited his friends as clients to create false ‘Statements of Work’, to support the fake H-1B visa petitions.
According to the press note, the evidence at the trial showed that Prasad fraudulently used the digital signature of a Cisco employee, who was not authorized to sign Cisco employment documents, to create a document that would leave the impression that two of the H-1B workers had an existing work project at Cisco. Prasad obtained two of the H-1B visas using this fraudulent document that purports to be a fully executed Cisco contract.
“This verdict sends a strong message: the Diplomatic Security Service is committed to making sure those who commit visa fraud face consequences for their criminal actions,” said Matthew Perlman, Special Agent in Charge of the DSS San Francisco Field Office.“Diplomatic Security’s strong relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and with the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force continues to be essential in the pursuit of justice.”