Steep Penalty for Alleged H-1B Scammer
Bail of $800,000 was set for an Edison, N.J., zoning board member arrested June 10 and charged with conducting an immigration racket between January 2002 and June 2008 through his IT company Cygate Software and Consulting.
Cygate owner Nilesh Dasondi is accused of charging expatriates tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for fraudulently sponsoring their H-1B work visas. Dasondi filed federal work visa and immigration documents for six people who did not work for his company.
In a process known as "running the payroll," six Indian nationals paid Cygate more than $850,000, authorities said, which in turn created fake payroll stubs and fake insurance payments to the government to prove the six were employees. The rest of the money was returned to the individuals or pocketed by Dasondi. All six Indian nationals were also arrested.
Meanwhile, the government appears to be increasingly cracking down on H-1B program abusers. Groups such as the Programmers' Guild, a nonprofit organization working to advance the issues of IT pros, which have long argued that the visa system is rife with abuse, however, say this is just the tip of the iceberg.
"Here we have Cygate. Before that, Cybersoftec was doing the exact same thing," said Programmers Guild founder and software industry expert John Miano. "There was Deepsai, which I believe was in Atlanta. Earlier this year there was the case in El Paso where the subcontractor to the school system was taking money from Filipinos to get H-1B visas and was importing more teachers than the school system was hiring."
"Right now in [New Jersey] the Wage and Hour Division is up to its eyeballs in H-1B abuse cases," Miano said.