Indian American arrested on charges of H-1B, naturalisation fraud
Washington, Feb 6: An Indian-American was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly submitting 11 fake H-1B visa applications and fraudulently procuring his own citizenship, US Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Neeraj Sharma, 43, living in the Piscataway township of New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of visa fraud and one count of naturalization fraud, the attorney said. He will be produced before US Magistrate Judge Michael Hammer in Newark federal court.
The visa and naturalisation fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of USD 250,000. According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Sharma recruited foreign workers with purported IT expertise who sought work in the US.
He is the owner and chief executive officer of Magnavision LLC, an information technology staffing and consulting company based in Somerset, New Jersey.
When submitting the potential staffers' H-1B visa paperwork to US Citizenship and Immigrations Services, Sharma falsely represented that the foreign workers had full-time positions awaiting them at a national bank, a pre-requisite to securing their visas, federal prosecutors alleged.
The H-1B program applies to employers seeking to hire non-immigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.
In fact, Sharma had never secured work for the applicants and submitted phony letters to the USCIS on the bank's letterhead with forged signatures of bank executives, the complaint said, adding that he committed these crimes as an Indian citizen and as legal permanent resident.