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San Jose businesswoman pleads guilty to H1-B visa fraud

SAN JOSE — A San Jose businesswoman who obtained H1-B visas for skilled foreign workers by telling immigration officials they had job offers from Cisco Systems Inc. when they in fact did not has pleaded guilty to visa fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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On Wednesday, Sridevi Aiyaswamy, 50, of San Jose, pleaded guilty to three counts of visa fraud, a crime that carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Aiyaswamy admitted that between April 2010 and June 2013 she made numerous false statements and submitted more than 25 fraudulent documents for the purpose of obtaining H1-B nonimmigrant classifications for skilled foreign workers, according to prosecutors.
The highly sought-after visa allows U.S. companies to temporarily employ foreign workers for specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in fields like engineering and information technology.
Acting on behalf of the potential visa holders, Aiyaswamy told U.S. immigration officials that her clients would be working at Cisco and even submitted counterfeit “statements of work” with forged signatures as back-up documentation, according to prosecutors.
Altogether, Aiyaswamy “enabled over 20 alien workers to either remain in or enter the United States under false pretenses,” according to a pretrial statement filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Aiyaswamy’s criminal conduct also gave her San Jose-based firm Strataserv Inc. an advantage over competitors because “they had to follow the normal, and often lengthy, visa application process,” whereas she could immediately place clients when jobs became available at new technology companies, according to the pretrial statement.
In December 2015, a grand jury indicted Aiyaswamy on 34 counts of visa fraud. Because she pleaded guilty to three counts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said it would seek dismissal of the remaining counts.
Aiyaswamy, who is free on bond, is scheduled to return to court for sentencing Nov. 15.

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