Hiral Patel worked for SCM Data and MMC Systems
Indian American woman, Hiral Patel, is the latest in the federal net to admit visa fraud.
The 34-year-old Patel pleaded guilty before US District Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark federal court. Patel worked to fraudulently obtain visas for foreign workers visas. She recruited workers through two Information Technology (IT) firms in New Jersey. However, these workers were not employed full time or paid according to federal rules, PTI reported.
Patel, who is from Jersey City, was the human resource manager of the IT companies SCM Data Inc and MMC Systems Inc. The companies offered consultants to clients in need of IT support, and recruited foreign nationals, often student visa holders or fresh graduates.
She admitted her involvement in preparing false leave slips for the foreign workers on behalf of the companies in February and March 2015.
Patel’s conspirators represented that the foreign workers they recruited had full-time positions and were paid an annual salary. They showed compliance with the visa requirements as laid by the US Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the news agency reported.
In reality, however, the conspirators violated the H-1B program rules and paid the foreign workers only when they were place at a third-party client who entered into a contract with SCM Data and MMC Systems.
They also asked foreign workers, who were not currently working, to come up with what their gross wage would be in cash and give it to companies in order to maintain their H-1B visa status.
They also made the workers submit bogus payroll checks to USCIS as proof that they were working as full-time employees. The fraud was discovered by the US Department of Labor in an audit at SCM data and MMC Systems.
The conspiracy to commit visa fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Patel faces sentence in June, 2017.