Couple Indicted for $20 Million Visa Fraud Involving Indian Workers
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Raju Kosuri, 44, and Smriti Jharia, 45, of Ashburn, as well as four co-conspirators, were indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and visa fraud, among other charges.
According to the indictment, Kosuri, his spouse Jharia, and their co-conspirators have fraudulently applied for more than 800 illegal immigration benefits under the H-1B visa program. Since 2008, and at much greater scale since 2011, Kosuri has built a staffing business that amounts to a visa-for-sale system, in violation of federal law.
The indictment alleges that Kosuri has set up a network of shell companies that he presents to immigration authorities as independent businesses in need of Indian workers, but which he in fact owns and controls. The indictment further alleges that Kosuri and his co-conspirators use these entities to file petitions for non-existent job vacancies at Kosuri’s data center in Danville. Kosuri is alleged to require workers to pay their own visa processing fees, in violation of H-1B program rules; and he is alleged to treat the beneficiaries as hourly contractors, again in violation of H-1B visa program rules. The visa fraud scheme involves the forgery of numerous individuals’ signatures on visa petitions and exhibits without their knowledge. The indictment alleges that Kosuri has generated gross proceeds of at least $20 million over the life of the scheme.
Separately, the indictment alleges that Kosuri and Jharia conspired with a consultant named Raimondo Piluso to defraud the Small Business Administration, by submitting fraudulent HUBZone applications. Kosuri, Jharia, and Piluso are alleged to have concealed the true location, ownership, and employees of a business called EcomNets Federal Solutions in order to obtain federal loan and contract preferences, from which they have generated $150,000 in loan proceeds and five contract awards.
Kosuri, Jharia, and Piluso face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, if convicted. The other co-conspirators face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington; Bill A. Miller, Director of Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of State; and Robin Blake, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, made the announcement after the indictment was unsealed. Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul K. Nitze and Angela Fiorentino-Rios are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-CR-43.