Between 2010 and 2013, Wright State reportedly entered into sponsored research contracts with a privately held, Dayton-based software company called Webyoga, Inc.
Per the contracts, Wright State was supposed to employ software engineers, obtain H-1B visas for the employees, and pay their respective salary and benefits as employees of the university.
The H-1B visa program allows U.S. companies to temporarily employ foreign workers for occupations that require highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s or higher degree in a specific specialty.
Wright State employed 24 foreign employees who were selected and approved by Webyoga through H-1B visas. The university used their “cap exempt” status to apply for the visas, meaning they have higher limits on the number of H-1B visas they are allowed to obtain.
A signed employment offer letter was submitted, stating the visa employee would be working for the university and under the supervision of university employees.
Wright State failed to mention that the employees would actually be working for Webyoga, even specifying that the visa employees would not be working offsite but would physically be working on the school’s Fairborn campus.
Rather than develop the software programs named in the contracts, the visa employees worked as consultants on behalf of Webyoga in cities such as Atlanta, Orlando, and New York City.
Wright State then invoiced Webyoga for more than $1.8 million for the fees associated with the employees’ visas, salaries, benefits, and administrative costs.