Indian national arrested in $21 million H-1B visa scandal. How did it go unnoticed?
By: Rebecca Anderson
An Indian National was caught in a $21 million scam and arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud.
Well, that escalated quickly.
Arrested last week, 48-year-old Ashish Sawhney allegedly used four separate companies in Virginia to submit illegal visa applications, federal prosecutors said. The incident was first reported in the Times of India publication.
According to prosecutors, Sawhney was charged with two counts of conspiracy, three counts of inducing an alien to come to and reside in the U.S. for commercial advantage or private financial gain, and one count of attempted naturalization fraud—the illegal admittance of a foreigner to the citizenship of a country. Sawhney allegedly gained gross profits of approximately $21 million over the span of five years from 2011 to 2016.
So, how did it go unnoticed all this time?
Court documents claim that statements submitted in these H1B visa filings contained false information and that supposed job positions in both information technology and software development services (that the candidate would potentially fill) did not exist at the time.
Sawhney faces up to a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted.
Although it took nearly five years for any sort of questioning to follow this suspicious activity, one thing is clear. If you want to become a U.S. citizen, you must do it the legal way—or pay a steep price.
It’s important for foreign nationals to go through a proper means of citizenship, including using accredited immigration law firms and lawyers, as well as companies working alongside a verified third-party corporation, like Park Evaluations or one like it, that deals with this specific type of documentation.
For example, a company that is ISO certified—a specific designation that shows they have processes in place that strive for quality and on-time delivery, and that those processes are consistently approved by a disinterested third-party, as well as internal and external audits—will help ensure a candidate won’t be duped during the process.
This is a green flag for many large-scale businesses looking for qualified candidates.
As for Ashish Sawhney, the case will be further investigated by a number of federal institutions, including the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, while he awaits his sentencing.
As an Operations Analyst at Park Evaluations, Rebecca Anderson works with the proofing team to review evaluation letters for candidates looking to attain their visa of choice. When not at the office, Rebecca devotes time to curating news and kickboxing.