The CEO of two Bellevue, Wash., IT staffing providers was arrested this week on a charge relating to a visa fraud scheme, the US Attorney’s Office announced. Pradyumna Kumar Samal served as CEO of Divensi and Azimetry, which supplied IT workers such as software development engineers to major corporate clients. However, the Department of Justice said Samal led a scheme involving forged and fraudulent documents to get visas for specialty occupation employment.
Smal submitted, and directed his employees to submit, forged and false application materials to the US government, making it appear as if two corporate clients already had agreed to use several foreign-national employees named in the applications, according to the department. However, neither client had agreed to do so.
The documents included forged letters and fraudulent statements of work, which appeared as if they had been signed by senior executives at the two clients, according to the department. After US Citizenship and Immigration Services relied on the false representations and approved the applications, Samal’s companies left those foreign nationals unpaid until and unless they were able to place them at actual end clients.
Nearly 200 workers may have been brought in under the phony applications, according to the department. The employees also paid Samal’s companies a partially refundable “security deposit” of as much as $5,000 for the visa filings, regardless of whether they were assigned to any projects that provided them with income.
The criminal complaint was filed under seal in April 2018, and Samal was arrested on Tuesday, as he arrived in Seattle from an international flight. Visa fraud is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.