Visa Fraud - 10 Indians arrested in US

In the USA cities of New York, New Jersey, Washington and Virginia, law enforcement officials arrested 21 people, ten among whom are Indian-Americans, on charges of a visa racket.

Those name include: Tajesh Kodali, Jyoti Patel, Shahjadi M Parvin, Narendra Singh Plaha, Sanjeev Sukhija, Harpreet Sachdeva, Avinash Shankar, Karthik Nimmala, Govardhan Dyavarashetty and Syed Qasim Abbas.

Yuen was charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit.

The area residents were scheduled to appear Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court.

These people recklessly exploited the U.S. immigration system for financial gain. Others turned the students' enrollment into opportunities for them to work in the US, all while allegedly profiting commission fees.

Only, this one was being run by undercover federal agents.

The defendants were aware that the University of Northern New Jersey had no instructors, classes or degree programs, but they did not know it was created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Undercover HSI operatives investigated unlawful activities, such as visas obtained through fraud, associated with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). It did, however, have a storefront location that was staffed by federal agents who posed as school administrators.

"Once word got out, brokers descended on the school, clamoring to enroll their foreign student clients", Fishman said.

A sting has nabbed almost two dozen suspects who were trying to get more than 1,000 bogus student and foreign worker visas, officials said Tuesday.

In addition to the federal charges against the recruiters, DHS said on Tuesday that it is working to terminate the student visas for the 1,076 foreigners who had received them through the fake school.

To catch these recruiters and brokers, Fishman said, Homeland Security Investigations set up its own sham school, called the University of Northern New Jersey, in a building in Cranford.

"Its only employees were undercover HSI agents posing as corrupt administrators", Fishman said.

What UNNJ didn't have, however, was a faculty, classrooms, or curriculum.

The defendants also facilitated the creation of hundreds of false student records, which were purchased by their foreign national conspirators for the objective of deceiving immigration authorities.

Other defendants devised phony IT projects that were purportedly to occur at the school. Numerous brokers are accused of creating the necessary fake documents themselves. Some petitioned the government for fraudulent H1-B work visas on behalf of UNNJ students. These fictitious documents were then submitted to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The case exposes a potential route to the United States for would-be terrorists and touches the political controversy over the H-1B visa, a nonimmigrant visa that allows USA employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

Vanessa Coleman