Ashburn Couple Indicted for $20 Million Visa-for-Sale Business

A federal grand jury Tuesday handed up indictments against an Ashburn couple and four co-conspirators charged with visa fraud and other violations.

Investigators said Raju Kosuri, 44, and Smriti Jharia, 45, fraudulently applied for more than 800 illegal immigration benefits under the H-1B visa program. Starting in 2008, and at a greater scale since 2011, Kosuri built a staffing business that amounted to a visa-for-sale system, in violation of federal law, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The indictment alleges that Kosuri has set up a network of shell companies that he presents to immigration authorities as independent businesses in need of Indian workers. Kosuri and his co-conspirators used companies to file petitions for non-existent job vacancies at Kosuri’s data center in Danville.

Kosuri is alleged to require workers to pay their own visa processing fees, in violation of H-1B program rules; and to have treated the beneficiaries as hourly contractors, also in violation of H-1B visa program rules.

The visa fraud scheme involved the forgery of numerous individuals’ signatures on visa petitions and exhibits without their knowledge. The indictment alleges that Kosuri has generated gross proceeds of at least $20 million over the life of the scheme.

Separately, the indictment alleges that Kosuri and Jharia conspired with Raimondo Piluso, a consultant, to defraud the Small Business Administration, by submitting fraudulent HUBZone applications.

Kosuri, Jharia, and Piluso are alleged to have concealed the true location, ownership, and employees of a business called EcomNets Federal Solutions to obtain federal loan and contract preferences through the HUBZone program, resulting in $150,000 in loans and five contract awards.

Kosuri, Jharia, and Piluso face a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. The other co-conspirators face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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