ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal grand jury indicted an Ashburn couple, as well as four co-conspirators Tuesday on charge of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and visa fraud, among other charges. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, and the U.S. Department of Labor.
According to the indictment, Raju Kosuri, 44; his spouse Smriti Jharia, 45; and their co-conspirators fraudulently applied for more than 800 illegal immigration benefits under the H-1B visa program. Since 2008, and at much greater scale since 2011, Kosuri has built a staffing business that amounts to a visa-for-sale system, in violation of federal law.
The indictment alleges that Kosuri set up a network of shell companies that he presented to immigration authorities as independent businesses in need of Indian workers, but which he in fact owns and controls. The indictment further alleges that Kosuri and his co-conspirators used these entities to file petitions for non-existent job vacancies at Kosuri’s data center in Danville. Kosuri allegedly required workers to pay their own visa processing fees and treated the beneficiaries as hourly contractors, both violations 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 generated gross proceeds of at least $20 million over the life of the scheme.
Separately, the indictment alleges that Kosuri and Jharia conspired with a consultant named Raimondo Piluso 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 in order to obtain federal loan and contract preferences, from which they have generated $150,000 in loan proceeds and five contract awards.
Kosuri, Jharia, and Piluso face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, if convicted. The other co-conspirators face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, if convicted.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.