Category: Visa Fraud

The unsealed indictment alleges that from March 2017 to August 2018, Moktar Hossain, 30, conspired to bring and brought 14 Bangladeshi nationals to the United States at the Texas border in exchange for a fee.

Bangladeshi National Arrested in Houston to Face Charges for a Conspiracy to Bring Aliens into the United States

A Bangladeshi national residing in Monterrey, Mexico, was arrested yesterday on arrival at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to face a criminal indictment issued in the Laredo Division of the Southern District of Texas for his role in a scheme to smuggle aliens from Mexico into the United States.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Shane M. Folden of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio made the announcement.

The unsealed indictment alleges that from March 2017 to August 2018, Moktar Hossain, 30, conspired to bring and brought 14 Bangladeshi nationals to the United States at the Texas border in exchange for a fee.  Hossain operated out of Monterrey, Mexico, where he maintained a hotel that housed aliens before they were transported to the U.S. border by drivers paid by Hossain.

Hossain was presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Hanovice Palermo in the Southern District of Texas for his initial appearance.  At the hearing, Judge Palermo ordered that Hossain be held pending transfer to Laredo for further criminal proceedings.

“Protecting our country from illegal immigration and the national security threat it poses is a priority for the Department of Justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “The Criminal Division is dedicated to working with our law enforcement partners both here and abroad to disrupt the flow of illegal aliens into the United States, and bring those who facilitate their travel to justice.”

“Homeland Security Investigations remains steadfast in vigorously pursuing members of transnational criminal networks that exploit and endanger the people they smuggle into the United States,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Folden.  “Smugglers are driven by simple greed with no thought for human compassion.  HSI continues to work with our law enforcement partners to maintain the integrity of our border and the safety of our communities.”

This case is being investigated by HSI Laredo, with assistance from HSI Monterrey, HSI Houston, HSI Calexico, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Marshals Service.  The investigation is being conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and HSI.  The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may present particular national security or public safety risks, or present grave humanitarian concerns.  ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence and prosecutorial resources.  ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys James Hepburn and Erin Cox of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/bangladeshi-national-arrested-houston-face-charges-conspiracy-bring-aliens-united-states

 

Andreea Dumitru, an immigration attorney, scammed the asylum program, which was designed to provide safe harbor for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Berman said that between 2013 and 2017, Dumitru submitted more than 180 fraudulent I-589 forms (Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal) in which she knowingly made false statements about the applicants’ travel histories, criminal histories, and personal narratives of alleged persecution.He added that Dumitru deliberately forged her clients’ signatures, falsely notarized affidavits, and fabricated detailed personal stories of purported mistreatment of her clients.

READ MORE: https://neonnettle.com/news/5718-new-york-immigration-lawyer-found-guilty-of-large-scale-asylum-fraud
© Neon Nettle

Wright State University’s Board of Trustees will have to pay the federal government $1 million for visa fraud offenses on behalf of the university

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.

https://www.wdtn.com/news/local-news/wright-state-ordered-to-pay-federal-government-1-million-for-visa-fraud/1602446181?fbclid=IwAR2yn4qE1IH_BPHZvVJ1h4aqnVNzcLCiaBlZrlVS2k17fU5iL1M3V-Q0y5A

 

The defendants required the victim to perform domestic work and childcare at their home seven days a week, paying her a mere $200 a month.

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Two Defendants Sentenced to Prison For Roles in Alien Harboring Scheme Involving Labor Exploitation of Domestic Servant

Defendants Michael Wood, 54, and Mary Wood, 46, of Mullica Hill, New Jersey, were sentenced yesterday in federal court to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $46,320 in restitution to the victim in this case. A jury convicted both defendants of harboring an alien for financial gain and conspiracy to harbor an alien on June 6, 2017. Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Special Agent in Charge Marlon V. Miller of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia announced the sentences.

According to evidence presented in court and other court documents, in August 2005, the defendants recruited a young Kenyan woman to care for their minor children in New Jersey and arranged for her to enter the United States illegally using a fraudulent British passport. The defendants required the victim to perform domestic work and childcare at their home seven days a week, paying her a mere $200 a month. To conceal the victim’s immigration status from authorities, the defendants prohibited her from leaving their house, except to walk the children to school, and instructed her not to talk to anyone outside of the house and defendants’ family.  In June 2006, members of defendant Mary Wood’s family moved the victim to their homes, where they continued to harbor her and exploit her domestic labor, until the victim managed to leave in 2011.

“The defendants exploited the domestic labor of a young Kenyan woman, for minimal pay, circumventing immigration law,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “Today’s sentences demonstrate the Department of Justice’s commitment to seeking justice for vulnerable individuals across the country and holding defendants who commit these despicable and unconscionable crimes accountable.”

“The sentencing of Mr. and Mrs. Wood emphasizes the severity of crimes that oppress victims of unconscionable domestic labor practices,” said Special Agent in Charge Marlon V. Miller, HSI Philadelphia.  “Homeland Security Investigations vigorously pursues those who take advantage of vulnerable victims of forced servitude for their own personal gain.  This case again underscores the importance of educating the public on these schemes, seeking justice for victims and holding violators accountable.”

Six additional defendants, including members of defendant Mary Wood’s family who harbored the victim from 2006 to 2011, previously pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and were sentenced for their roles in the continuing alien harboring and labor exploitation scheme. The defendants were also ordered to pay more than $233,000 in combined restitution to the victim.

The case was investigated by ICE Homeland Security Investigations Philadelphia and prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Anita Channapati and Shan Patel of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-defendants-sentenced-prison-roles-alien-harboring-scheme-involving-labor-exploitation-0

 

His investigation raises serious concerns about this practice, which is more widespread than most parents realize.

Joyner focuses on Global Teachers Research and Resources, a Jonesboro company that brings teachers to Georgia and is the target of a federal investigation into alleged unfair labor practices. The chief operating officer is state Rep. Mike Glanton, D-Jonesboro, a member of the House Education Committee.

DeKalb’s reliance on foreign teachers concerns school board member Marshall Orson. It should concern the entire board now that Joyner has detailed some of the questionable practices.

He found Global teachers without jobs were made to pay expenses federal visa regulations require employers to pay.  And some teachers told Joyner they pay an “administrative fee” — up to 10 percent — out of their paycheck to company, which also receives between $10,000 and $11,500 per teacher from school districts every year.

https://www.myajc.com/blog/get-schooled/importing-foreign-teachers-dekalb-and-other-places-exploitation-good-business/O9jJVVAqPQtFHTjzNudI7I/

 

 

News of this latest indictment will likely fuel arguments that the H-1B program is being abused by companies to get cheap foreign labor at the expense of jobs for Americans.

In September, an Indian citizen, Pradyumna Kumar Samal, 49, who ran two U.S. staffing firms in Washington State, was charged with engineering what federal authorities are calling a “multi-year visa-fraud scheme” centered on the controversial H-1B visa.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/11/03/h-1b-visa-fraud-feds-indict-sunnyvale-man-for-bringing-in-600-workers-illegally/?fbclid=IwAR2TA8La0oKezBDDHfI3QdkG1efZYdfLi03y_FpwZIoQQhvyAneli3nt0zQ

 

Promoting Transparency

Transparency about how the H-1B program is being used is vital to ensuring accountability for employers and improving policies and practices that protect American workers. To view reports and data about H-1B petitions for previous fiscal years, please visit the Buy American Hire American: Putting American Workers First page and the Immigration and Citizenship Datapage.

https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-and-fashion-models/combating-fraud-and-abuse-h-1b-visa-program?fbclid=IwAR3vHOV_sl2XKpPilBBwVIkm82ehNNZqlfqN8xLak2Rr2ZicbbQ_eVEml7k

 

Expansion of Site Visits

Since 2009, we have conducted random administrative site visits to ensure that employers and foreign workers are complying with requirements of the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. We verify H-1B workers’ wages, job duties, and work locations during site visits. This action is not meant to target nonimmigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administrative action but rather to identify employers who are abusing the system.

We seek to determine if workers are not being paid while in the United States as they wait for projects or work, a practice known as “benching” which violates U.S. immigration laws. We also conduct site visits in cases where there are suspicions of fraud or abuse and refer many of the cases to our counterparts at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for further investigation.

Starting this month, we will take a more targeted approach focusing on:

  • H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers, as defined by statute);
  • Cases where we cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data; and
  • Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.

Targeted site visits will also help us determine whether H-1B-dependent employers who normally must meet H-1B recruitment attestation requirements are actually paying their workers the statutorily required salary to qualify for an exemption from these requirements. These site visits will assist in determining if these employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers and to not displace U.S. workers.

Targeted site visits will allow us to focus resources where fraud and abuse of the H-1B program may be more likely to occur. We will also continue to make unannounced and random visits to all H-1B employers across the country, both before and after any petition is adjudicated.

https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-and-fashion-models/combating-fraud-and-abuse-h-1b-visa-program?fbclid=IwAR3vHOV_sl2XKpPilBBwVIkm82ehNNZqlfqN8xLak2Rr2ZicbbQ_eVEml7k

 

Protections for H-1B Workers Who Report Suspected Fraud or Abuse

If an H-1B worker reports suspected fraud or abuse, immigration law may provide certain protections to these workers. If an H-1B worker:

  • applies to extend their H-1B status or change their nonimmigrant status,
  • indicates that they faced retaliatory action from their employer because they reported an LCA violation, and
  • lost or failed to maintain their H-1B status,

we may consider this situation to be an instance of ‘‘extraordinary circumstances’’ as defined by sections 214.1(c)(4) and 248.1(b) of Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations. Normally, H‑1B workers are not eligible to extend or change their status if they have lost or failed to maintain their H-1B status. However, if they can demonstrate ‘‘extraordinary circumstances,’’ we may use our discretion to excuse this requirement on a case-by-case basis.

https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-and-fashion-models/combating-fraud-and-abuse-h-1b-visa-program?fbclid=IwAR3vHOV_sl2XKpPilBBwVIkm82ehNNZqlfqN8xLak2Rr2ZicbbQ_eVEml7k

H-1B Fraud and Abuse Indicators

Examples of H-1B fraud indicators may include:

  • The H-1B worker is not or will not be paid the wage certified on the Labor Condition Application (LCA).
  • There is a wage disparity between H-1B workers and other workers performing the same or similar duties, particularly to the detriment of U.S. workers.
  • The H-1B worker is not performing the duties specified in the H-1B petition, including when the duties are at a higher level than the position description.
  • The H-1B worker has less experience than U.S. workers in similar positions in the same company.
  • The H-1B worker is not working in the intended location as certified on the LCA.

https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-and-fashion-models/combating-fraud-and-abuse-h-1b-visa-program?fbclid=IwAR3vHOV_sl2XKpPilBBwVIkm82ehNNZqlfqN8xLak2Rr2ZicbbQ_eVEml7k