Indian national arrested on charges of $21 Million H-1B visa fraud

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A Sterling, Virginia man was arrested Aug. 20, 2020, on charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and for inducing aliens to come to the United States using fraudulently obtained H-1B visas.

According to court documents quoted in a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Ashish Sawhney, 48, allegedly used four corporations to orchestrate the improper submission of fraudulent applications for H-1B specialty-occupation work visas.

The six-count indictment identifies Sawhney as the director or registered agent for Value Consulting, LLC, Value Software Products, Inc. (formerly known as Value Consulting, Inc.), Business Pointers, Inc., and E-Train ERP, Inc., each of which had offices located in the Eastern District of Virginia and purported to provide information technology staffing and software development services for commercial clients in the United States.

Sawhney is innocent until proven guilty.

Sawhney is alleged to have submitted or caused to be submitted H-1B visa application materials stating that the foreign workers named in the applications would fulfill a specific job, where in fact, according to the investigators, no such job existed at the time of filing.

The indictment alleges that through Sawhney’s ownership and direction of the scheme, his companies generated gross profits from 2011 to 2016 of approximately $21 million.

The indictment further alleges that Sawhney, who is an Indian national, attempted to naturalize as a United States citizen by submitting an application containing false statements.

Sawhney is charged with two counts of conspiracy, three counts of inducing an alien to come to and reside in the United States for commercial advantage or private financial gain, and one count of attempted naturalization fraud.

If convicted, Sawhney faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case is being investigated by the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, which is comprised of multiple agencies including the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Office of Fraud Detection and National Security that coordinate investigations into fraudulent immigration documents.

 

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