By: Bruce E. Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law


Cloudgen LLC, an Indian technology company, pled guilty in federal court in Houston to conspiring to commit H-1B visa fraud from March 2013 to December 2020 through Jomon Chakkalakkal, senior vice president for sales.

During the plea, the company admitted to recruiting multiple information technology (IT) workers from India and falsely procuring H-1B visas for them to enter and work in the US. The U.S. Attorney’s office described it as a “bench and switch” scheme, whereby Cloudgen filed documents with the Departments of Labor (DOL) and petitions with the USCIS containing “fraudulent statements about the availability of work at third-party national employers.” Furthermore, the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated:
Cloudgen would then submit forged contracts stating each third-party company had a job for the individual Indian national. Next, based on those false documents, Cloudgen would submit paperwork to get an H-1B worker’s visa for the Indian nationals. When granted, they would use that visa to allow the Indian nationals to enter the United States. But once the employees came to the US there was no job for them and they were housed in different locations across the US, while Cloudgen would try to find work for them.

Such action gave Cloudgen a competitive advantage by having a steady 'bench' or supply of visa-ready workers to send to different employers based on market needs when the true process actually takes some time. Once workers had obtained new employment, the 'switch' would occur when the new third-party company filed immigration paperwork for the foreign workers.
Cloudgen took a percentage of the worker’s salary as their fees, earning approximately $493,500 in profits during the course of the conspiracy.

At the time of sentencing in September 2021, the company could have to pay up to $1 million as well as a maximum five years of probation.

If you want to know more information on immigration compliance and related issues, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.