San Jose Businesswoman Pleads Guilty To Tech Worker Visa Fraud
Defendant Submitted False Contracts, Forged Signatures of Cisco Employees to Federal Government In Scheme to Obtain H-1B Visas Under False Pretenses
SAN JOSE, CA - A San Jose businesswoman pleaded guilty in federal court today to three counts of visa fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin. The guilty plea was accepted by the Honorable Lucy H. Koh, U.S. District Judge.
In pleading guilty, Sridevi Aiyaswamy, 50, of San Jose, admitted that between April 2010 and June 2013 she made numerous false statements, and submitted over 25 fraudulent documents, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the purpose of obtaining H-1B non-immigrant classifications for skilled foreign workers. Acting as a petitioner on behalf of foreign worker beneficiaries, Aiyaswamy falsely represented in I-129 petitions that the foreign worker beneficiaries would be working at Cisco, an information technology and networking company in San Jose, Calif. Aiayswamy further submitted counterfeit statements of work with forged signatures as back-up documentation to the I-129 petitions. In fact, at the time she submitted these documents to USCIS, Aiyaswamy knew that the statements regarding offers of work from Cisco for these beneficiaries were false statements, and that Cisco had not made any offers of employment regarding these individuals.
A federal grand jury indicted Aiyaswamy on December 3, 2015, charging her with 34 counts of visa fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1546(a). Pursuant to today’s pea agreement, Aiyaswamy pleaded guilty to three of the counts of visa fraud and the government agreed to request dismissal of the remaining counts.
Aiyaswamy is currently free on bond. Judge Koh scheduled her sentencing for November 15, 2017, at 9:15 a.m. The maximum statutory penalty for visa fraud is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence following conviction will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Bostic and Jeff Nedrow are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Laurie Worthen and Susan Kreider. The prosecution is the result of an investigation led by HSI. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Office of Fraud Detection and National Security also assisted with the investigation.