Sunnyvale man to serve 15 months in federal prison for H-1B visa fraud scheme

Bay Area

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A Sunnyvale man is sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for making false statements in foreign worker visa applications, acting United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds announced Monday.

49-year-old Kishore Kumar Kavuru of Sunnyvale, pleaded guilty to one county of visa fraud on May 24, 2021.

In his plea agreement, Kavuru stated he owned, operated, and was CEO of four different staffing companies.

Kavuru’s companies specialized in obtaining H-1B visas for foreign skilled workers and placing individuals in the United States at technology firms seeking qualified H-1B contractors — known as H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers program, the H-1B visa program allows an employer to temporarily hire a skilled foreign worker in the United States on a nonimmigrant basis.

At the four staffing companies Kavuru owned and ran, he was responsible for creating H-1B visa applications for foreign workers and submitting them to the appropriate agencies of the U.S.

Kavuru admitted in his plea agreement that from 2009 through at least 2017, he engaged in a scheme to obtain H-1B visas from government agencies by submitting more than 100 applications that falsely described available H-1B positions and falsely stated that the H-1B workers were to be placed at the positions at specific companies.

He also admitted that he knew at the time he submitted the applications that the companies did not have the named jobs and that he did not intend to place the workers at those companies.

It was revealed that Kavuru or one his employees — at Kavuru’s direction — signed the visa applications attesting under penalty of perjury to the truth of those false statements.

Kavuru later admitted that he required the H-1B skilled workers to pay him thousands of dollars in cash in exchange to prepare and submit their H-1B visa petitions — which is a violation of U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) regulations.

Additionally, Kavuru required his H-1B visa recipients to go unpaid for months while he looked for legitimate H-1B positions for them, violating U.S. DOL regulations by failing to pay H-1B workers while they are “benched” in this manner.

In a memo filed for sentencing, the government calculated that Kavuru arranged the submission of over 100 fraudulent H-1B visa applications as he pocketed more than $1.5 million in fraudulently-obtained proceeds.

Kavuru will also be forced to forfeit $533,350.03 and will be under a three year period of supervision following his release from prison.

Kavuru will begin serving his sentence on February 10, 2022.

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