A Texas teacher of Indian descent carried on a devious and fraudulent scheme for years before being caught that made him thousands of dollars off the backs of Indian victims. George Mariadas Kurusu, 58, an Indian national who used to teach in the Fort Stockton Independent School District, was sentenced April 26, by a federal judge, and fined thousands of dollars for the scheme where he acted as an intermediary between the State Department and the school district, advertising in India and hiring Indians to teach in the United States.
United States District Judge Louis Guirola sentenced Kurusu to the 11 months he has already served in prison, and ordered him to pay $53,004.51 restitution for the wire fraud scheme. Kurusu was also ordered to forfeit $5,987.49 to the Government and serve three years of supervised release. Kurusu has been in federal custody since his arrest in May 2016.
On January 19, Kurusu pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud; one count of fraud in foreign labor contracting; one count of tampering with a witness, victim or an informant; and, one count of making a false statement on a visa application. By pleading guilty, Kurusu admitted that from December 2012 to May 2016, he defrauded several individuals out of more than $50,000 for a “visa package” provided by a company he owned which promised H1-B visas, teaching jobs, and the maintenance of those jobs and visas for his victims.
According to court records, Kurusu, a H1-B visa holder, established a separate business, Samaritan Educational Services (Samaritan), from which he profited in violation of his visa. Kurusu also lied on an application to renew his visa.
Kurusu began placing advertisements in a newspaper in Hyderabad, providing services for a fee to individuals who were seeking teaching positions in the United States. He led applicants to believe that they had to go through his business in order to both obtain a visa and a job. Kurusu inserted himself between the applicant and both the State Department, issuer of visas, and the FSISD, who paid for the visa and did the hiring. Victims paid large fees believing they were solely to be used to complete paperwork and none would go to him. Kurusu paid those nominal fees, but pocketed the rest.
He also ordered the victims not to mention to the State Department that they enlisted the services of Samaritan and not to contact FSISD directly, but only through him.
When the victims arrived in the United States, in particular within the FSISD, Kurusu had them set up a bank account and an Electronic Transfer of Funds (ETF) where 15% of their monthly paychecks, before taxes, were wired to Kurusu’s Samaritan business bank account. Kurusu falsely told them this was for consulting fees, then later for his “services” to make sure they had continuous employment and to maintain their visas– two things of which Kurusu had no control.
When the victims began questioning the arrangement, Kurusu warned that if they did not pay, they would lose their jobs and their visas; and again, advised them not to contact the FSISD otherwise they would jeopardize all H1-B visa holders in the district. The FSISD was unaware of the defendant’s scheme.
Once Kurusu became aware an investigation was being conducted, he went to the victims and told them not to talk to law enforcement. Kurusu told them that if they did speak to law enforcement, he, them, and all the other H1-B visa holders in the district would lose their jobs, lose their visas, and be deported.