A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man of Indian origin, was arrested this morning (Feb. 5) for allegedly submitting 11 fraudulent H-1B visa applications as well as fraudulently procuring his own citizenship, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Craig Carpenito announced.
Neeraj Sharma, 43, of Piscataway, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of visa fraud and one count of naturalization fraud. Sharma was scheduled to make his initial appearance the same day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and Sharma is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The visa and naturalization fraud charges carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Sharma recruited foreign workers who were supposed to have IT expertise and looking to work in the United States. When submitting their H-1B visa paperwork to U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services, Sharma is accused of falsely representing that the foreign workers had full-time positions awaiting them at a national bank, a prerequisite to securing their visas.
In fact, prosecutors allege, Sharma had never secured work for the applicants and submitted phony letters to USCIS on the bank’s letterhead with forged signatures of bank executives.
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.