A California federal court has convicted an Indian technology consultant of H-1B visa fraud on Aug 4.

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Abhijit Prasad, 52, of Tracy, California faces 21 counts of visa fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft as well as the maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison. He also received a $250,000 fine for the visa fraud, according to the press release.

Prasad is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 16.

The case originated in Sacramento when a grand jury indicted Prasad in 2016, but the case was ultimately tried in San Francisco following a court order to transfer the case there.

According to a court document, Prasad was the president and CEO of Maremarks, a visa services company which he ran out of his house in Tracy, California.

The false visa statement counts arise from Prasad’s operation of an immigration services business at Cisco Systems. Prasad faces criminal charges for filing 19 petitions for H-1B nonimmigrant visas containing false statements, made under penalty of perjury, as to purported work projects to be performed at locations in California, including at Cisco.

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.

At two instances the government alleged that Prasad obtained H-1B visas based on misrepresentations to that same agency. 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. The design of the H-1B visa program is that overseas specialty workers will fill a demonstrated need at American companies that cannot be adequately filled by American workers. That requirement is one of the primary factors that USCIS.

The court document shows Prasad recruited friends he knew as clients to create false Statements of Work, to bolster the 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.”

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