An Indian American businessman in New Hampshire state has been sentenced to three years of probation and fined $40,000 for filing false visa applications under the H-1B visa programme, federal officials said.
Acting US Attorney John J Farley said earlier this week that Rohit Saksena, 42, ran a staffing company under the name of Saks IT Group LLC, which had contracted with other companies willing to hire foreign workers, New India Times community newspaper reported on Thursday.
According to court documents, Saksena filed 45 fraudulent visa applications with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) between March 2014 and December 2015, claiming that Saks IT Group was hiring foreign workers for a firm in Cupertino, California.
Saksena pleaded guilty on May 1 to making false statements to the USCIS.
The false visa applications were filed under the H-1B visa programme, which allows American businesses to temporarily employ foreign workers with specialised or technical expertise in a particular field like accounting, engineering, or computer science.
However, there was no evidence that Saks IT Group had any contract with the company in California nor was the company even hiring foreign workers. Instead Saksena was putting these workers to work in other companies, the report said.
"It's a serious crime, because, you want to protect the integrity of these programmes. Ultimately, they depend on people being honest," Mark Zuckerman, who prosecuted the case, told New Hampshire Public Radio.
"It's a very important programme. A lot of industries, frankly, rely on it. And when it gets subverted like this, it makes it that much more difficult to administer," he added.
Although the foreign workers and the company in California were not defrauded, many of the fraudulent visa applications were denied after the incident.