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.