H-1B Visa fraud: Indian American sentenced to 15 months in California

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

An Indian American CEO of a staffing company was sentenced to 15 months in prison for making false statements in foreign workers’ H-1B visa applications, announced the Acting United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds office on Tuesday, Nov.23.

Kishore Kavuru, 49, of Sunnyvale, California, pleaded guilty to one count of visa fraud on May 24, 2021.  In his plea agreement, Kavuru stated he owned, operated, and was CEO of four different staffing companies. His companies specialized in obtaining H-1B visas for foreign skilled workers and placing these individuals in the United States at technology firms seeking qualified H-1B contractors.

Kavuru was responsible for creating H-1B visa applications for foreign workers and submitting them to the appropriate government agencies of the United States.

Known as the H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers program, the H-1B visa program allows an employer to temporarily hire a skilled foreign worker in the United States on a non-immigrant basis. The position must qualify as a “specialty occupation,” which requires application of specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in the specialty.

Kavuru admitted in his plea agreement that from 2009 through at least 2017, he engaged in a fraudulent scheme to obtain H-1B visas from government agencies by submitting more than 100 applications that contained false and fraudulent statements. The applications falsely described available H-1B positions and stated that such workers were to be placed accordingly at specific companies. He admitted he knew at the time he submitted the applications that the companies did not have the jobs mentioned and that he did not intend to place the workers at those companies. None of those foreign skilled workers were ever placed at those companies.  Kavuru, or one of his employees at his direction, signed the visa applications attesting under penalty of perjury to the truth of those false statements.

Kavuru further admitted that he violated U.S. Department of Labor (US DOL) regulations by charging the workers thousands of dollars in cash for the cost of preparing and submitting their visa petitions. He also admitted he did not pay his visa recipients for months while he looked for legitimate H-1B positions for them, violating US DOL regulations by failing to pay the workers while they are “benched” in this manner.

In a memo filed for sentencing, the government calculated that Kavuru orchestrated the submission of applications that earned him more than $1.5 million in fraudulently-obtained proceeds.

In addition to his 15-month prison sentence imposed for visa fraud in violation, the United District Judge Edward J. Davila entered a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $533,350.03. The sentence also included a three-year period of supervision following Kavuru’s release from prison.

Kavuru will surrender to begin serving his sentence on February 10, 2022.