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11/13/2015

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North Texas federal jury convicts 2 brothers in visa fraud case

Atul and Jay Nanda used their corporation to commit fraud through H-1B Visa Program in order to create a low-cost workforce

DALLAS — Following a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn, a federal jury on Friday convicted two brothers of felony visa fraud based on their conspiracy to secure a low-cost workforce at their North Texas information technology consulting company from about March 2005 to February 2011.

These convictions were announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.  This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Department of State.

Atul Nanda, 46, and his brother, Jiten "Jay" Nanda, 44, were each convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, one count of conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, and four counts of wire fraud. The conspiracy to commit visa fraud count carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. The conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Each wire fraud count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.  Both men were allowed to remain free on bond, pending a Nov. 13 detention hearing. A sentencing date was not set.

Dibon Solutions is an information technology consulting company located in Carrollton, Texas; it is a family operation created by the Nanda family. Atul and Jiten Nanda created, established and ran the corporation that they used to commit fraud through the H-1B visa program.

The H-1B visa program allows businesses in the U.S., such as Dibon, to temporarily employ foreign workers with specialized or technical expertise in a particular field such as accounting, engineering or computer science.

The government presented evidence at trial that as part of their scheme, the Nanda brothers recruited foreign workers with expertise who wanted to work in the U.S. The brothers sponsored the workers' H-1B visas with the stated purpose of working at Dibon headquarters in Carrolton. In fact, however, the business did not have an actual position at the time that the workers were recruited. The brothers knew the workers would ultimately provide consulting services to third-party companies located throughout the U.S. Contrary to representations made by the conspirators to the workers (and the government), Jay and Atul Nanda directed that the workers only be paid for time spent working at a third-party company and only if the third-party company actually first paid Dibon for the workers' services. Additionally, in Dibon's visa paperwork, the conspirators falsely represented that the workers had full-time positions and were paid an annual salary, as required by regulation to secure the visas.

This scheme, according to evidence presented at trial, provided the conspirators with a labor pool of inexpensive, skilled foreign workers who could be used on an as-needed basis. The scheme was profitable because it required minimal overhead, and Dibon could charge significant hourly rates for a computer consultant's services. Thus, the Nandas, as Dibon's owners, earned a substantial profit margin when a consultant was assigned to a project and incurred few costs when a worker was without billable work. This scheme is known as "benching." Dibon actively recruited H-1B workers for the "bench."

The government presented further evidence that the Nandas required the H-1B visa candidates to pay the processing fees that the law requires to be paid by the company. The evidence presented at trial showed that the Nandas attempted to hide this by having the H-1B candidates pay the fees directly to Dibon either with cash or a check written to "Dibon Training Center."

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Danial Gividen and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Yanowitch prosecuted this case.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/18/2015