On Feb 5, 2019, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Craig Carpenito announced that a man of Indian origin in a Middlesex County, New Jersey was arrested for allegedly submitting 11 fraudulent H-1B visa applications as well as fraudulently procuring his own citizenship. A man named Neeraj Sharma who is 43 years old of Piscataway, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of visa fraud and one count of naturalization fraud. Mr. Sharma on the same day scheduled to make his appearance day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court.

Sharma is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty as the charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations. 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine will be charged as a maximum potential penalty for the visa and naturalization fraud.

According to statements made in court and documents filed in this case, Sharma recruited foreign workers who were supposed to have IT expertise and looking to work in the United States. He is accused of falsely representing that the foreign workers had full-time positions awaiting them at a national bank, a prerequisite to securing their visas when submitting their H-1B visa paperwork to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

In fact, Sharma had never secured work for the applicants, allege prosecutors and submitted phony letters to USCIS on the bank’s letterhead with forged signatures of bank executives.

The H-1B program applies to employers seeking to hire nonimmigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.