Federal jury finds Tracy, Calif. man guilty of H-1B Visa fraud, identity theft

A Tracy, Calif. man could face a mandatory 10-year sentence after being convicted of 21 counts of visa fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft in a verdict that was delivered on Monday, August0 5. The jury at U.S. District Court in San Francisco delivered the verdict against 52-year old Abhijit Prasad. 

The case originated in Sacramento when the grand jury there indicted Prasad in 2016, but the case was ultimately tried in San Francisco following a court order transferring the case there. 

Evidence introduced during the trial showed Prasad filed 19 petitions for H-1B nonimmigrant visas containing false statements, made under penalty of perjury, as to purported work projects to be performed at locations in California, including Cisco Systems. The evidence at trial showed that Cisco had no expectation that the foreign workers who were the beneficiaries of the visa petitions would actually work at Cisco on an existing work project. 
Prosecutors also showed that the Prasad knowingly submitted forged Cisco documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in support of his claims that the beneficiaries would work at Cisco. Finally, the evidence at trial showed that Prasad fraudulently used the digital signature of a Cisco employee, who was not authorized to sign Cisco employment documents, to create a document that would leave the impression that two of the H-1B workers had an existing work project at Cisco. 
Prasad obtained two of the H-1B visas using this fraudulent document that purports to be a fully executed Cisco contract.
“This verdict sends a strong message: the Diplomatic Security Service is committed to making sure those who commit visa fraud face consequences for their criminal actions,” Matthew Perlman, Special Agent in Charge of the DSS San Francisco Field Office said. “Diplomatic Security’s strong relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and with the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force continues to be essential in the pursuit of justice.”
In a verdict statement, Homeland Security Special Agent Tatum King for San Franciso and Northern California said the department is "laser-focused" on bringing individuals like Prasad to justice. 
 “These types of fraudulent activities pose a severe threat to national security and public safety as it creates vulnerabilities for terrorists and other criminals to exploit," King said. "HSI and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate such criminal activities and will hold violators accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service’s representative to the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF), overseen by Homeland Security Investigations. 


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