News


Pleasanton woman indicted for alleged visa fraud ring

One of 4 defendants accused of submitting 100 fraudulent H-1B visa applications,

A Pleasanton woman has been indicted along with three others on federal charges for allegedly participating in a scheme to commit worker visa fraud.

Pleasanton resident Sandhya Ramireddi, 56, her brother Pratap "Bob" Kondamoori, 54, of Incline Village, Nevada, and Sunitha and Venkat Guntipally, of Fremont, were indicted earlier this month on 33 counts of charges, including conspiracy to commit visa fraud, use of false documents and mail fraud, among other crimes, according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) news release.

The four defendants allegedly submitted more than 100 fraudulent H-1B visa applications, which are popular specialty worker visas. ICE alleged they used California corporations to complete the scheme.

H1-B specialty occupation worker visas allow companies to temporarily employ foreign employees. To qualify, applicants must have a bachelor's degree or its equivalent in a specific subject area and the "theoretical and practical application" of a subject area, according to ICE.

Venkat and Sunitha Guntipally founded and owned two companies that sought out and provided employees for technology firms, according to ICE. Kondamoori is the founder of SISL Networks, and Ramireddi was the human resources manager and operations manager of all three companies, according to federal authorities.

The four defendants allegedly submitted H-1B visa applications, stating the people in the applications would be placed at specific U.S. companies. However, the companies either didn't exist or they never intended to employ the people noted in the applications, according to ICE.

"Immigration benefit fraud is a serious crime," said Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge at the ICE homeland security investigation (HSI) field office in San Francisco. "Schemes like this create security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by criminals and others who pose a danger to our community."

"HSI and our law enforcement partners aggressively target those who conspire to corrupt the integrity of America's legal immigration system and put our nation's security at risk in the process," Spradlin added.

Comments

23 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Verona
on May 26, 2016 at 7:25 am

Okay we've had enough of the H1B visa that has been harming American workers for a long time now. Companies unabashedly replacing their IT staffs with foreigners using these visas, and the absolutely fraudulent use of the visa as described above. A long time ago the politicians told us that the H1B visa was to fill spots where American workers couldn't be found and that it was temporary until American workers could be trained. So I say outsourcing companies should be banned from using H1B visas altogether, and the fraudulent use of L and B visas by them needs to be stopped as well. Additionally, a company should only be able to petition for H1B workers if 1) they are paid more than $100,000 per year, and 2) if they have hired at least 5 additional US citizen workers full-time, permanently, for ever H1B visa they petition for. Also, they should have to prove that they actively recruited an American worker for the H1B visa spot.


12 people like this
Posted by noh1bvisas
a resident of Avignon
on May 26, 2016 at 7:34 am

americans' lives are being destroyed by these h1b guest workers. it is time to end the program.


3 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 27, 2016 at 12:17 am

I have no issues with these people going to jail for visa fraud they should.

To the people calling for an end to the H1B program, you need to get your facts correct you know so little about the program.
Is there room for improvement in the program YES.

These candidates are not displacing US tech workers. We are not able to fill all the open roles with only US workers. We could move the jobs to a different country if that makes you happy.

You want to help get more kids to go into the tech field!

FYI I was born in the US.


8 people like this
Posted by Richard
a resident of Beratlis Place
on May 28, 2016 at 11:10 am

Kevin,
Web Link
Workers were brought from Croatia and Slovenia as "SKILLED" workers, painters and electricians, paid $5 hr to work at the Tesla plant in Fremont. They said US workers could not do those jobs!!! The skilled labor visa program is fraught with fraud and it MUST end! Any company that has a shortage can train needed skills and they would have pleanty of interested workers if they will pay a fair wage.
We do not need underpaid workers becoming a greater drain on our overtaxed social services because of greedy corporations.

I have lost all respect for TESLA!!!!


3 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 28, 2016 at 4:37 pm

If this guy actually worked at Tesla he was not hired by Tesla. He would have been hired by a sub contractor doing dirty.


6 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 29, 2016 at 12:20 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@kevin,

You may need to check your facts also. About 60% of h1b visas last year went to outsourcing companies like Infosys and Wipro for the purpose of facilitating offshoring. Those workers are displacing US tech workers. There are many examples:

Web Link

I used h1b visas to hire tech workers in the late nineties when the tech bubble produce widespread shortages of tech workers. The program has changed significantly since then, and there is widespread abuse today. It is in need of reform.


2 people like this
Posted by BV
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 29, 2016 at 5:33 pm

BV is a registered user.

@BobB
Do you think that a company should hire a higher cost and less-skilled person? Is your though that if H1B program is no longer available that companies will be forced to do something not conducive to profitability, by hiring the above folks? Or is your thought that without H1B program there will be more lower-cost and more-skilled to choose from? If those people around please tell me where they are any why they are not willing to work for less? And, as well, what do you think hiring high-cost, less-skilled folks would do to the products from such a company? Would you be willing to pay even more? I think when you start logically question why you believe what you believe you might get past the knee jerk reaction often brought about by emotions.


5 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 29, 2016 at 6:17 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

BV,

Companies are not hiring low-cost, higher quality labor when it hires H1-B. In fact, it is low-cost, LOW quality. I should know this, I've been in the position to hire and manage these individuals in several job categories.

Big IT business is most certainly "in-sourcing" H1-B due to the fact that when "out-sourcing" IT labor, it is much more difficult to manage when the operation is on the other side of the globe. Quality is much lower in the finished product and program times move way out unless you have US reps on site. Too expensive.

As a result, these same companies now have given in to allow more "in-sourcing" H1-B visa holders because they will work for much less. You can simply hire 1 1/2 heads of H1-B to every head of a domestic worker. Time to market is improved due to more capacity and quality can be scrubbed in later revisions.

Make no mistake about it, H1-B is a way for companies to have LOWER COSTS at the expense of American labor.



3 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 29, 2016 at 9:23 pm

BobB is a registered user.

BV,

Is your post real, or are you pretending, I can't tell. You didn't directly address anything I posted, and you seem to be perhaps faking poor English grammar?


1 person likes this
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 30, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Jtjh is a registered user.

The Eastern European workers at Tesla were not on H1B visas. They were indeed employed not by Tesla, but by a subcontractor, who brought them into the US on B1/B2 visas. The subcontractor then used them to carry out work that the terms of their visas did not entitle them to undertake.

The article posted in a link earlier in this thread does, in fact, explain this. The intended use of B1/B2 visas was also explained in a recent edition of the KQED radio program "Forum", which was prompted by the newspaper's investigation of the subcontractors' fraudulent practice that exploited the overseas workers..


1 person likes this
Posted by Lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 30, 2016 at 4:33 pm

Lessismore is a registered user.

To BobB

Bob,
As i stated
Is there room for improvement in the program YES.

60% of h1b visas going outsourcing companies like Infosys and Wipro is a problem and needs to be corrected.

There is a simple way to stop this problem.

These companies hire to what they call the bench. Meaning when they apply for the H1B they do not have a role in the US. If the visa is grant then they bring to the US and find roles. There are only 65k H1B's granted each year in a lottery. So require that the outsourcing companies have a role before they apply for the H1B.

I would agree Infosys and Wipro are abusing the program.



2 people like this
Posted by BV
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 7, 2016 at 9:50 am

BV is a registered user.

@BobB
I agree that some "american" jobs are being displaced by the H1B program and yes there is some fraud. My point was that you need to look at the drivers of this behavior and not the symptoms (or some might say the color of the result). In my opinion (and agreeing with @DKHSK) that the driver is companies staying competitive.

Now what do we want and what do we do about it?
Competitive companies and fewer "American" workers or Non-competitive companies and more "American" workers? Hint: you can't have it both ways.


Like this comment
Posted by germainew
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Mar 15, 2017 at 8:40 am

germainew is a registered user.

Oh, I'm pretty sure that sooner or later we'll face a problem of illegal migrants. People will always find a loop to avoid rules and laws. If we don't give Indians their visas legally they will flow into a country without any documents or due to document fraud.
I'm afraid of one more problem we'are facing - a problem of outsourcing. If the government doesn't allow businessmen employ cheap labor there, they will find other ways. They will outsource Web Link tasks to such companies which offer cost reduction and high quality work.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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