Brecksville man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hire undocumented workers, forfeits $1 million
A Brecksville man forfeited $1 million today after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to hire undocumented workers, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Ravindra Telluri, age 42, of Brecksville, Ohio, pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Dan Aaron Polster.
Pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement, Telluri paid $1 million to the United States to satisfy the forfeiture based upon the proceeds he received as a result of his criminal activity.
Telluri is a lawful permanent resident of the United States and a citizen of India, according to court records. He agreed to withdraw his application to obtain United States citizenship by naturalization and agreed to no longer work in any employment position involving the recruiting or hiring of undocumented workers.
Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9, 2013.
“We will continue to prosecute those employers who would hire undocumented workers,” Dettelbach said. “While the H-1b temporary worker visa program can be a valuable tool in a company’s hiring practices, abuse of the system will not be tolerated.”
The criminal information charged and Telluri acknowledged in entering his plea of guilty that between January 1, 2008 and October 14, 2010, he was the sole owner and operator of two information technology firms, Hytech Consulting, Inc., and InterOne Corp., both companies located in Seven Hills, Ohio.
The firms hired and then placed computer programmer analysts at client firms to serve as computer consultants. The two companies were subsequently sold and Telluri is no longer an owner or operator, according to the information.
During the time period charged in the criminal information, Telluri engaged in a conspiracy with two unindicted coconspirators in India to recruit and hire citizens of India to come to the United States as temporary specialty occupation workers in the area of information technology as computer programmer analysts, according to the information.
Federal laws permit companies to recruit and hire qualified temporary specialty occupation workers utilizing H-1b visas issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). As part of the process, there must exist an actual position for the person to be hired and a Labor Condition Application from the Department of Labor certifying that hiring a temporary alien worker at the location of the employment will not adversely affect the existing workforce in that geographic area of the country.
It was part of the conspiracy that Telluri was aware at the time of hiring undocumented workers that false documentation purportedly from client companies previously had been submitted as part of the process of submitting petitions for issuance of H-1b visas, and that as a result, he hired workers who were not lawfully authorized to be so employed, according to the information.
“Homeland Security Investigations is committed to holding businesses accountable when they knowingly hire an illegal workforce,” said Brian M. Moskowitz, Special Agent in Charge of HSI, Michigan and Ohio. “Employers who willfully violate our nation’s hiring laws gain an unfair economic advantage over their law-abiding competitors. Our goal is to protect job opportunities for the nation’s legal workers and level the playing field for those businesses that play by the rules.”
“Today’s guilty plea should serve as a stern warning to those who intentionally submit false labor certification applications to the U.S. Department of Labor. The defendant in this case devised an international scheme to fraudulently obtain H-1b visas for foreign workers. The Office of Inspector General will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to combat these types of crimes,” said James Vanderberg, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, Officer of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations.
“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) immigration officers serve on the front lines protecting our Nations’s security and, as this case so aptly demonstrates, are actively involved in the detection of fraud and abuse,” said Mark Hansen, USCIS District Director in Cleveland. “We remain committed to protecting the immigration system from those who would seek to exploit it and, together with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, will strive to maintain the integrity of our national immigration system.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Phillip J. Tripi, Gregory C. Sasse, and James L. Morford, following an extensive joint criminal investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.