When a person certifies something, he or she attests that something is true or accurate. For example, in order to obtain a work visa in the United States, a foreign national must have a job in the country and provide certification that they actually work at a legitimate organization. An employer would need to provide documentation certifying this fact. An article published in The Times of India tells about a defendant who orchestrated an eight-year long visa fraud scheme to sponsor illegal Indian immigrants by falsely claiming to provide employment for them. (This is definitely not a recommended way to go about obtaining entry into the U.S.)

The story reports that the man sponsored the immigrants’ visa applications and claimed to provide employment for them in multiple technical fields at several New Jersey companies. His false certification on the applications caused the immigrants to obtain their visas and enter the country illegally.

The scheme involved requiring the immigrants to pay thousands of dollars for the fake certifications. The fraudster issued bogus paychecks and other payroll forms to hide the scam. (He even required the Indian nationals to pay for their payroll tax expenses.) The fake payroll checks and employment documentations were also used to extend the visas. (As you can guess, he charged his victims for this service as well.)

The scam didn’t stop there. He also ran into a bit of trouble regarding his company’s tax returns. Because he carried the immigrant Indian employees on his payroll, he claimed more payroll expenses than he should have – $1.4 million to be exact. He also underreported his taxes by more than $400,000 during the same four-year period.

The fraudster pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the U.S. and to filing a false federal income tax return. His sentencing is scheduled for next year.

Work visas are intended to bring in qualified and talented individuals to do a job, not provide a means for illegal entry into the U.S. It’s hard to say what the judge’s sentence will be in this case, but my guess is that the perpetrator’s ability to stay in this country and enjoy all of the rights and privleges offered will be jeopardized.

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