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Indian-origin immigration lawyer charged with visa fraud

American passport Source: Flickr user LucastheExperience

She has admitted to submitting false paperwork to the Immigration authorities in order to seek work visas for foreign nationals.

Sunila Dutt, an Indian-American attorney has pleaded guilty to the charges of student and work visa fraud in America, news agency Press Trust of India has reported.  

39-year-old Ms. Dutt pleaded guilty before US District Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark federal court to an information charging her with conspiracy to commit visa fraud and obstruct justice.

Ms. Dutt, an immigration lawyer for two IT companies, admitted to submitting false documents to fraudulently obtaining foreign worker visas, the prosecutors said.

Both companies that Ms. Dutt worked for offered IT consultancy to clients. The companies, therefore recruited foreign nationals, often student visa holders or recent college graduates and sponsored them for H-1B visas.

Dutt and other accomplices recruited foreign workers with purported IT expertise who sought work in the United States.

Her accomplices then sponsored the foreign workers'  work visas visas with for working for the two companies’ clients in the US.

When submitting the visa paperwork to the US Immigration authorities, it was falsely stated that the foreign workers held full-time jobs and were paid an annual salary which is a mandatory requirement for the H-1B visas. While actually, the visa holders were paid only when they were placed on a job for a third party.

It has been alleged that in some instances, false payroll records were generated to create the visa paperwork.

She also admitted to submitting more than once false visa documents to the authorities for foreign nationals purporting to hire them for companies when no such positions existed in the companies. 

Sunila Dutt faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Her sentencing will take place on February 6, 2017.

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