Atul Nanda, 46, and Jiten “Jay” Nanda , two Indian-Americans have been sentenced by a Texas judge on June 3 for committing visa fraud to employ low-cost workers ostensibly for their own IT company, but in fact, circulated them to third parties and reaping huge profits.
Atul Nanda and “Jay” Nanda, who were convicted at trial in November 2015 for committing H-1B visa fraud to get workers for their consulting company, Dibon Solutions, headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, received lengthy federal prison terms of 7 years and three months, by Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn.
Each was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, one count of conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, and four counts of wire fraud. The brothers, who have been on bond, were remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
“The H-1B visa program is a powerful and positive tool for businesses and foreign workers alike when properly used,” said U.S. Attorney John Parker. “When employers abuse the program, however, the foreign workers become a captive stable of cheap labor, victimized to the company’s financial benefit.”
The Nanda brothers recruited skilled foreign workers with expertise, sponsoring them through the H-1B visa, saying they would be working for Dibon Solutions, when in fact, they were farmed out to third-party companies around the U.S., prosecutors said.
“Jay and Atul Nanda directed that the workers only be paid for time spent working at a third-party company and only if the third-party company actually first paid Dibon for the workers’ services,” the press release said. At the same time, the Nanda brothers falsely represented that the workers had full-time positions and were paid an annual salary at Dibon, as required by regulation to secure the visas.
This scheme provided the Nandas with a labor pool of inexpensive, skilled foreign workers who could be used on an “as needed” basis. The scheme was profitable because it required minimal overhead and Dibon could charge significant hourly rates for a computer consultant’s services. “Thus, the Nandas, as Dibon’s owners, earned a substantial profit margin when a consultant was assigned to a project and incurred few costs when a worker was without billable work,” authorities proved. Under this scheme known as “benching,” Dibon actively recruited H-1B workers for the “bench.”
At the same time, the Nandas required the H-1B visa candidates to pay the processing fees that the law requires to be paid by the company, and hid this from authorities by having the applicants pay the fees directly to Dibon either with cash or check.
The three other defendants charged in the case, Siva Sugavanam, 37, Vivek Sharma, 48, and Rohit Mehra, 39, who each pleaded guilty before trial to one count of aiding and abetting visa fraud, were each sentenced earlier this month by Judge Lynn to two years’ probation. Sugavanam was the lead recruiter for Dibon; Sharma acted as Dibon’s office manager; and Mehra recruited employees for the bench and transported benched employees to and from Dibon Headquarters. All three had knowledge of and/or involvement in the filing of false documents with the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in securing recruits’ employment with Dibon.