Bay Area tech executives indicted for H-1B visa fraud
FREMONT – Two Bay Area tech executives are accused of filing false visa documents through a staffing agency in a scheme to illegally bring a pool of foreign tech workers into the United States.
An indictment from a federal grand jury unsealed on Friday accuses Jayavel Murugan, Dynasoft Synergy’s chief executive officer, and a 40-year-old Santa Clara man, Syed Nawaz, of fraudulently submitting H-1B applications in an effort to illegally obtain visas, according to Brian Stretch, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California.
The men are charged with 26 counts of visa fraud, conspiracy to commit visa fraud, use of false documents, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to prosecutors. Each charge can carry penalties of between two and 20 years in prison.
Murugan, 46, is co-owner of Dynasoft, an employment firm based in Fremont with an office in India, according to the indictment. Nawaz is believed to have worked for several Bay Area tech companies, including Cisco, Brocade Communications and Equinix.
Prosecutors say the men used fraudulent documents to bring workers into the U.S. and create a pool of H-1B workers to hire out to tech companies. The indictment charges that from 2010 to 2016, Dynasoft petitioned to place workers at Stanford University, Cisco and Brocade, but the employers had no intention of receiving the foreign workers named on the applications.
Nawaz submitted fake “end-client letters” to the government, falsely claiming the workers were on-site and performing jobs, according to the indictment.
A man who answered the phone Saturday at Dynasoft Synergy said to call back Monday. An email message to the company was not returned.
The H-1B visa program was designed to allow U.S. companies to hire skilled workers from around the world. The program is a lifeblood for local tech firms, bringing engineers, scientists and other professionals to the Bay Area. But critics say the program allows companies to replace U.S. employees with younger, cheaper foreign workers.