HOUSTON — Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery announced that Cloudgen LLC, a consulting and strategic solutions company located on South Dairy Ashford Road in Houston, has pleaded guilty to H-1B visa fraud.
Cloudgen LLC pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit visa fraud from on or about March 2013 to December 2020. The company admitted during the plea that they recruited several Information Technology workers from India and falsely procured H-1B visas for them to enter and work in the United States.
An H-1B visa is a visa that allows the temporary employment of non-immigrants to work specialized jobs in the United States.
In this scheme, Cloudgen LLC filed documents containing fraudulent statements regarding the availability of work at third-party national employers to the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Homeland Security (DHS). Then, the company submitted fabricated contracts that state each third-party company had a job for the individual Indian national. The company then submitted paperwork based on those documents to get an H-1B worker’s visa for the workers. After the papers were granted, the company used the visa to get the illegal Indian workers to enter the United States.
However, as the jobs provided by the company were fake, the company had to house the Indian workers in different locations all over the country. In the meantime, Cloudgen looked for other employment for them. This scheme allowed Cloudgen to get a competitive advantage by having a steady “bench”. This means Clodgen was always ready to provide visa-ready workers to send to different employers based on market needs when the actual process takes longer.
The company also extended the visas using the original forged documents, allowing the holders to stay and continue working in the United States. The company charged fees from a percentage of the worker’s salary, earning about $493,516.28 in profits from this scheme.
Sentencing will be imposed by Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal. on September 16. The company is facing a fine of up to $500,000 or the greater of twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss and a maximum of five years of probation.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service and is prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard W. Bennett and Jay Hileman.