By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

Wright State University and the federal government have agreed to resolve allegations of H-1B visa fraud by the university paying $1 million over allegations that it engaged in visa fraud for the employment of software engineers.

The university’s Board of Trustees agreed to pay the money as part of an agreement in which it acknowledged that it obtained visas for the employees before placing them with companies and in other locations rather than employing them itself, violating the terms of the applications.

From 2010 to 2013, the university used its “cap exempt” status to apply for and obtain visas for 24 employees, who went on to work for Webyoga, after it drafted employment offer letters that indicated the individuals would be working for the school and with university employees as their supervisors. By these actions, companies, such as Webyoga Inc., were able to benefit from employees that they otherwise may not have been able to access through the visa program, which allows skilled foreign workers to work in specialty occupations in the U.S.

Rather than work in Ohio on the software programs that Wright State identified in the contracts, the employees went on to work as Webyoga consultants in many locations, including Atlanta, New York City and Orlando, with the university billing the company more than $1.8 million for associated visa, salary and benefit costs.

In 2015, Wright State removed three employees involved with the H-1B applications, its provost, the provost's senior advisor, and the head of the university's International Gateway program.