HARRISBURG, Pa. – A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a Pennsylvania man, the owner of Global Healthcare Group and Fortune 500 Systems, to 21 months in prison and ordered him to pay $100,112 restitution, following his conviction on visa fraud and money laundering charges.
Dynanoba Kendre, 43, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., pleaded guilty in September 2010 to the charges. In addition to the prison sentence, Senior District Judge Sylvia H. Rambo also ordered Kendre to serve three years of supervised release following the prison term.
The case stems from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, with substantial assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Fraud Detection and National Security.
"The integrity of our immigration system is jeopardized every time a criminal engages in visa fraud," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Philadelphia. "HSI will continue working with all of our law enforcement partners to investigate, arrest and bring these criminals to justice."
"The defendant's criminal activity in this case spanned a number of years and involved the work of multiple federal agencies.," said U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith, Middle District of Pennsylvania. "The just result in this successful prosecution was achieved through the diligent work of our federal law enforcement partners. I thank them for their consistent excellent efforts."
"Today's sentencing is a direct result of the excellent partnership the IRS, along with other federal law enforcement agencies, and the U.S. Attorney's Office has in combating violations of federal law," said Eric Hylton, special agent in charge of the IRS, Criminal Investigation. "This sentence should serve as a deterrent to those who might contemplate similar fraudulent actions."
"Today's sentencing underscores our efforts to investigate fraud against the Department of Labor's foreign labor certification programs," said John Spratley, special agent in charge for the Philadelphia region of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General. "The defendant falsified labor certification applications, for considerable financial gain, in order to illegally obtain visa renewals and permanent residence cards for foreign nationals. The Office of Inspector General and its law enforcement partners remain committed to combating this and any other fraud perpetrated against Department of Labor programs."
The investigation revealed that Kendre defrauded the H-1B, Temporary Foreign Worker Visa Program, as well as the Permanent Labor Certification Program, by submitting Labor Condition Applications containing false and misleading information. Kendre accepted cash payments from foreign workers, who were not employed, in order to produce false payroll checks and W-2 wage and tax statements indicating the foreign worker was so employed.
The fake payroll checks and W-2 wage and tax statements were submitted in support of H-1B Visa renewals or for adjustments of alien status by way of the Permanent Labor Certification Program. Foreign workers also paid Kendre a $5,000 "Annual Maintenance Fee" for keeping a visa active with the company, as well as a 25 percent fee for each payroll check processed by the company.
H-1B visas are issued by USCIS and permit qualified alien workers entry into the United States to work in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation, such as health care, requires alien workers to meet certain educational and professional requirements established by USCIS and an employer's petition on their behalf. The number of petitions filed with USCIS each year far exceeds the limited number of H-1B visas available, so they are valuable to alien workers and a source of illicit profit to corrupt employers. Securing an H-1B visa often represents the first step in obtaining permanent lawful residency via a Green Card and, ultimately, U.S. citizenship.
Despite Kendre's representations in petitions to federal agencies, few of the individuals for whom he submitted petitions actually performed work for his company. When there was no work at his company for them, Kendre instructed the foreign workers to secure cash-paying jobs in other locations. Kendre then engaged in a process known as "running the payroll," whereby the visa recipients were instructed to pay Kendre an amount based on the prevailing wage for which they were petitioned, plus a 25 percent fee that was to cover the company's payroll taxes. Kendre then had his company issue payroll checks for the foreign workers. Those payments were used in part to pay the visa recipients back, as falsified proof of compliance with the terms of their visa requirements and in order to apply for Green Cards. Other portions of the payments were used to pay the company's payroll taxes owed the government, to perpetuate the false visa petitions, and pocketed as profit by Kendre.