New York Woman Charged With Using Bogus Clinical Research Company As Part Of Three-Year Immigration Fraud Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. – An Elmont, New York, woman was arrested today for allegedly orchestrating a multi-pronged H-1B visa fraud scheme through her shell Newark-based company, Care Worldwide (CWW), U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Raina Massey, 51, is charged by complaint with two counts of wire fraud, one count of visa fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. She is scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint:
Non-United States citizens must have some kind of authorization to work legally in this country. H-1B visas are non-immigrant visas designed to allow U.S.-based employers to recruit and employ non-U.S. citizen professionals. H-1B visas are employer, not employee, driven, and are only issued for a specified, limited duration for “specialty occupations.”
Foreign workers admitted under the H-1B program are known as “beneficiaries” of the visas. To obtain an H-1B visa, an employer has to apply on behalf of the beneficiary and complete various forms required for the visa to be approved. One of those forms is U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-797C, which is used to memorialize, among other things, that an application for an H-1B visa has been successfully filed on behalf of an H-1B beneficiary and that the application has been vetted by the U.S. government. Beneficiaries do not have to pay any fees in connection with the visa application and are not responsible for finding their own employment.
From February 2012 through March 2015, Massey and others executed the fraud scheme through her company, CWW, which purported to be a clinical research company, but was actually a shell company that did little to no legitimate work of any kind. Massey and others sought out and advertised for qualified foreign professionals, purportedly to work for CWW in clinical research positions as beneficiaries of H-1B visas. These beneficiaries became victims of the scheme because the advertised positions did not actually exist.
For one set of victims, Massey engaged in “benching,” a form of fraud in which Massey and others falsely represented that the beneficiaries would have specialty technical jobs waiting for them upon their arrival at CWW. After taking illegal payments from these beneficiaries, Massey and others then completed applications for H-1B visas for these beneficiaries. However, when the beneficiaries arrived in the United States, Massey and others employed them in menial tasks, such as handing out flyers on street corners.
For a second set of victims, Massey and others, after illegally taking payments from the victims, never actually applied for H-1B visas. Massey and others provided these victims with false and fraudulent Form I-797Cs, which contained receipt numbers from other, previously filed, H-1B visa applications.
For a third set of victims, Massey and others, after illegally taking payments from the victims based on fraudulent representations regarding H-1B visas, never provided any documentation whatsoever to the victims.
In all cases, Massey and others demanded and took illegal payments from victims in exchange for purportedly filing H-1B visa applications on behalf of the victims.
Each wire fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; the visa fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; and the aggravated identity theft count carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, to run consecutive to any sentence imposed on any other count. Each count carries a potential fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of State, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge David Schnorbus of the New York Field Office, and investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Supervisory Criminal Investigator Thomas Mahoney, for the investigation leading to today’s arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater, Chief of the Criminal Division’s General Crimes Unit.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.