Andhra Pradesh

Telugu NRI duo among four arrested for H1B fraud in the U.S.

Two Telugus are among four executives of New Jersey-based IT staffing companies who were arrested by authorities of the United States of America on charges of fraudulently using the H-1B visa programme on Tuesday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice in New Jersey, in a release on its official website stated that the defendants Vijay Mane (39) of Princeton, New Jersey, Venkataramana Mannam (47) of Edison, New Jersey, Fernando Silva (53) of Princeton and Sateesh Vemuri (52) of San Jose, California, were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud which carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The four were alleged of gaining unfair advantage over competitors, the U.S. Attorney Craig Carpentio said in the release.

Conditional freedom

Mr. Mannam and Mr. Vemuri are Telugu Non-Resident Indians. While Mr. Vemuri appeared before the court on July 1 in Newark, Mr. Mannam and Mr. Silva appeared before the court on June 25, and Mr. Mane appeared on June 27 before another judge. They were released on a bond of $250,000, the release said.

According to the documents filed in the court, Messrs. Mane, Mannam and Vemuri controlled two IT staffing companies - Procure Professionals Inc. and Krypto IT Solutions Inc. - in New Jersey. Mr. Silva and Mr. Mannam also controlled another such company referred as ‘Client A’.

Fake applications and benching

“The defendants used the companies to recruit foreign nationals and sponsor them for H-1B visas and to expedite visa applications. They used fraudulent applications to build a “bench” of job candidates already admitted to the U.S. for immediate hiring by clients which is an advantage over competitors in the industry,” the release stated.

While Mannam, aka Ramana Mannam is reportedly from Krishna district and Mr. Vemuri of the Bay Area is reportedly a member of the executive committee of a Telugu association in the U.S.

Telugu association silent

When contacted over phone and email, representatives of the association preferred not to respond to the query if Mr. Vemuri was a member of their association. Details of Mr. Mane are yet to be known.

Defendant Mr. Vemuri is Krypto’s incorporator and CEO and a relative of defendant Mr. Mannam, who is the sole principal and director of Procure Professionals, as per the State of New Jersey’s records mentioned in the court document.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 4:35:05 pm |