A Houston consulting firm, Cloudgen LLC has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit H-1B visa fraud, as per a release issued by the US Department of Justice.
Cloudgen, a consulting and strategic solutions organization, pleaded guilty through its representative Jomon Chakkalakkal. To conspiring to commit visa fraud from March 2013-December 2020. By erroneously obtaining H-1B visas for informational technology workers to enter and work in the United States.
Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal will force sentencing on Sept. 16. Around then, the organization could need to pay up to $500,000 or the greater of twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss as well as a maximum of five years of probation.
H-1B visa fraud
In what is known as a ‘bench and switch’ scheme, the organization would file documents with the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Homeland Security (DHS) containing fraudulent statements about the availability of work at third-party national employers. Cloudgen would then submit forged contracts stating each third-party company had a job for the individual Indian national and apply for H-1B visas for them, permitting the workers to enter the country. These workers would be housed the nation over while Cloudgen would look for other employment for them.
This gave the organization an upper hand by having a consistent bench or supply of workers in the US who could be conveyed as soon as the demand came in. Whenever workers had acquired new employment, the ‘switch’ would happen. When the new third-party company filed immigration paperwork for the foreign workers. Cloudgen took a percentage of the worker’s salary as their fees. Earning around $493,516.28 in profits during the course of the conspiracy, said the DOJ.
The Department of State conducted the research with the help of DOL and DHS. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard W. Bennett and Jay Hileman are prosecuting the case.