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Indian American teacher sentenced to 11 months, fined for wire fraud scheme

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Kurusu allegedly placed advertisements about his firm in Hyderabad.

A United States Magistrate Judge has sentenced 58-year-old Indian American teacher George Mariadas Kurusu for 11 months, which he already served during the trail and to pay $53,004.51 restitution for the wire fraud scheme.

Kurusu pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with a wire fraud scheme involving the hiring of Indian teachers to teach in the US. He was found guilty on two counts of wire fraud; one count of fraud in foreign labor contracting; one count of tampering with a witness, victim or an informant; and, one count of making a false statement on a visa application.

Kurusu admitted that he had used fraudulent means to defraud individuals of amount higher than $50,000 during the period of December 2012 – May 2016. He promised them visa packages through his company that poised as a company offering H1-B visas, teaching jobs, and the maintenance of those jobs.

According to the US Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas, Kurusu, who is a temporary work visa holder, established a separate company called Samaritan Educational Services (Samaritan) that which is against the general H-1B rules.

Kurusu allegedly placed advertisements about his firm in Hyderabad, India, calling for application from people who are interested in teaching in the US, which will be processed for a fee. He was able to convince the applicants that they will have to move their visa and job application through his company in order to get the job.

Kurusu, who worked as a Math teacher at Fort Stockton High School located in Fort Stockton, Texas, acted as a middle man in between the applicants and both the State Department, the issuer of visas, and the Fort Stockton Independent School District (FSISD).

He made the victims believe that not a single penny of the amount they pay for the visa processing went to him. In the contrary, Kurusu filed the applications for a nominal fee and routed the rest to his pocket.

The victims provided Kurusu with the information required for setting up all paperwork for visa and to obtain a job at FSISD. While promoting his scheme, Kurusu used this information to place a buffer between the victims and both the State Department and FSISD.

In order to ensure that no information on his scheme is leaked, he used to tell his victims not to mention to the State Department they enlisted the services of Samaritan. Victims were also instructed not to contact FSISD directly, but only through him.

Finally, when the victims used to reach US, in particular within the FSISD, Kurusu made them set up a bank account and an Electronic Transfer of Funds (ETF) system. Thereafter, 15 percent of their monthly paychecks, before taxes, were wired to Kurusu’s Samaritan business bank account.

The victims were informed that the amount transferred to his company account will be used as his consulting fee. The unsuspecting victims were told that it is a fee for the other services that he will offer to make sure that they get continuous employment and visa services.

Those who contested to pay the monthly paychecks were threatened of job loss and cancellation of their visas. He also asked them not to contact the FSISD otherwise they would jeopardize all H1-B visa holders in the district. FSISD was unaware of the defendant’s scheme.

When Kurusu became aware of the investigation against him he insisted the victims not to talk to law enforcement and warned them that all the H-1B holders in the district would lose their jobs, visas and will get deported if they go against his words.

This investigation was conducted by agents with the US Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Dallas Regional Office, the US State Department, Diplomatic Security Service, Houston Field Office, with the assistance of the US Border Patrol in Fort Stockton, Texas. Assistant United States Attorney James J. Miller, Jr., is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.