Faces million dollar fine, five year probation at sentencing on Sept. 16.
Cloudgen LLC, a Houston, Texas consulting and strategic solutions company, has pleaded guilty to committing fraud to bring Indians to the US on H1-B visas for high skilled professionals.
Cloudgen pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit visa fraud from on or about March 2013 to December 2020 on May 28, acting US Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery announced in a press release.
During the plea, the company admitted to recruiting multiple Information Technology workers from India and falsely procuring H-1B visas for them to enter and work in the United States.
Cloudgen took a percentage of the worker’s salary as its fees, earning approximately $493,516.28 in profits during the course of the conspiracy, the release said.
Chief US District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal will impose sentencing Sept. 16.
At that time, the company may have to pay up to $500,000 or the greater of twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss as well as a maximum five years of probation, the release said.
Using a “bench and switch” scheme, Cloudgen would file documents with the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Homeland Security (DHS) containing fraudulent statements about the availability of work at third-party national employers.
Cloudgen would then submit forged contracts stating each third-party company had a job for the individual Indian national, it said.
Next, based on those false documents, Cloudgen would submit paperwork to get an H-1B worker’s visa for the Indian nationals. When granted, they would use that visa to allow the Indian nationals to enter the United States.
However, because the jobs were fake, they were housed in different locations across the country while Cloudgen obtained other employment for them.
Such action gave Cloudgen a competitive advantage by having a steady “bench” or supply of visa-ready workers to send to different employers based on market needs when the true process actually takes some time.
Once workers had obtained new employment, the “switch” would occur when the new third-party company filed immigration paperwork for the foreign workers.
Cloudgen would also extend their visas, based on the original false ones, to allow them to stay and continue working in the United States, it said.
The prosecutor’s office said that Cloudgen was based in Houston, but on its website, the company lists an address in Manassas in Virginia. It also shows offices in Hyderabad, Canada and Romania.
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