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Tue Jun 19, 2012, 05:06 PM

Federal complaint outlines H-1B fraud scheme

Source: Computerworld

Would-be workers shared housing and got little or no pay until clients were found

June 19, 2012 02:56 PM ET

Federal investigators have ended an H-1B fraud scheme in which people in India and in the U.S. were recruited for full-time jobs that did not necessarily exist.

According to a federal complaint detailing the scheme, job applicants were led to believe they were being hired for $50,000- or $60,000-a-year development and analyst jobs. But once hired weren't consistently paid or "benched" - left temporarily unemployed.

One employee, a graduate of a U.S. college on a student visa, shared a company-owned apartment with four or five other workers after being promised a job that paid $50,000 a year. Roommates changed when new "batches" of employees arrived, according to the complaint.

The employee, who was able to work under the optional practical training program, wasn't paid during a two-month training period. He volunteered for "in-house" projects that involved client Website development, but was told that he would not receive his full pay until he was placed at a client site. His first H-1B application was denied, but a second one, filed by another company also part of the scheme, was approved.

Read more: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9228238/Federal_complaint_outlines_H_1B_fraud_scheme

13 replies, 2825 views

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Federal complaint outlines H-1B fraud scheme (Original post)
OhioChick Jun 2012 OP
drm604 Jun 2012 #1
Life Long Dem Jun 2012 #2
drm604 Jun 2012 #3
Life Long Dem Jun 2012 #4
sybylla Jun 2012 #12
ChromeFoundry Jun 2012 #5
L0oniX Jun 2012 #6
AlphaCentauri Jun 2012 #10
Demit Jun 2012 #13
BadgerKid Jun 2012 #7
Egalitarian Thug Jun 2012 #8
WilmywoodNCparalegal Jun 2012 #9
Egalitarian Thug Jun 2012 #11

Response to OhioChick (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 05:18 PM

1. So what was the scheme?

He obtained visas under false pretenses, and promised non-existent jobs to applicants. Obviously these were criminal acts, but why did he do this? How did he profit from it?

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Response to drm604 (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 05:23 PM

2. They didn't get paid

 

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Response to Life Long Dem (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 05:25 PM

3. And they also apparently didn't do any work.

Or maybe I'm reading it wrong.

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Response to drm604 (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 05:29 PM

4. Says

 

Once hired they weren't consistently paid.

Also, "the employee, who was able to work under the optional practical training program, wasn't paid during a two-month training period. He volunteered for "in-house" projects that involved client Website development, but was told that he would not receive his full pay until he was placed at a client site."

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Response to drm604 (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 08:23 PM

12. The scheme is that these employers, who must sponsor H1-B visas, stole pay from their employees

H1-B visa workers are essentially slaves to the company who holds their work visa. H1-B employees can not work any where else without going through the filing process again - which could take months once they find a willing employer. Their choice is to stay here and keep trying to find a good employer or go home.

So employers often take advantage of H1-B visa workers, stalling paperwork, failing to follow labor laws (unpaid overtime, unreimbursed travel, 90 hour work weeks, etc), and in this case, not paying the employees for work performed and forcing them into circumstances where they may not have had the money to go home or go elsewhere (think sweatshop).

The fines for violating labor laws re: H1-B employees are very small - often no more than $1000 per incident. Think of the pay off of not paying someone $50,000 and only being fined $1000.

H1-B visas are a bad program run badly. It needs to end. We have plenty of unemployed tech and high-demand workers in this country.

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Response to OhioChick (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 05:53 PM

5. Oh, what a surprise



More H-1b fraud.. who would have guessed?

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Response to OhioChick (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 06:52 PM

6. Would anyone mind if I don't give a fuck about anyone with an H-1B?

Ain't going to cry over someone who takes jobs away from US citizens.

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Response to L0oniX (Reply #6)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 07:42 PM

10. Wait, isn't the laborers taking American jobs?

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Response to L0oniX (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 20, 2012, 09:05 AM

13. I mind. Those ppl are being exploited. The ones taking jobs away from US citizens are the employers.

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Response to OhioChick (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 06:53 PM

7. Apparently the other kind of H-1B fraud is ok.


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Response to OhioChick (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 07:09 PM

8. Well that's a first.

 



I kid. This program needs to end. There are a very few legitimate H-1(b) visa holders, and they should be accommodated, but most of it is just wage suppression.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #8)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 07:20 PM

9. Who determines who is 'legitimate' and who isn't?

Obviously, this case of outright fraud goes against everything the H-1B stands for. For one, these employees were benched and not paid (two major violations of the H-1B) and, if paid, it was for less than the professed wage on the forms (another violation of H-1B rules).

I'm sure there were other egregious violations as well - the labor condition application (LCA) *not to be confused with labor certification* was probably not posted for 10 consecutive business days at the location of the client and at the company's main office, there probably is no record keeping of any sort in the form of 'public access file' which any H-1B employer is required to keep, the supporting letter probably contained all sorts of wrong information, and so on.

I personally don't think this program needs to end at all. I can see on a daily basis the contributions of H-1B workers which cannot be matched by the local workforce. These are well educated and highly skilled people who are taxpayers and who follow the rules. They enrich our local communities and give a more international presence to many companies.

If anything, the program can be strengthened by reducing the availability of H-1Bs and perhaps restricting the specialty occupations for which the H-1B visa is sought (for instance, making it more difficult for IT companies to qualify any run-of-the-mill software engineer and prohibiting third-party IT consultants - such as the fraudster - to petition in the first place).

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Response to WilmywoodNCparalegal (Reply #9)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 08:21 PM

11. Legitimate holders are thoses that actually are nearly unique (usually) scientists

 

that possess irreplaceable skills that are needed to fill vital positions. The overwhelming number of holders are not even close to this class of worker. And I challenge you to be specific about these wunderkind pros that can't be replaced by American workers. I've been around IT since long before most people ever heard of it and have yet to meet one. That is not to say they are bad, I've never blamed the workers, but to pretend that they are the only option is disingenuous at best. This program only serves to suppress wages and allow employers to evade the cost of properly educating employees.

I agree with your fourth paragraph, and only suggest ending the program entirely because that is the most efficient way to reform a broken system. End it and replace it with a highly restricted program that places a very high standard on the employer-applicant to absolutely prove the necessity. We would end up with a few dozen every year.

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