SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Abhijit Prasad, 52, received multiple convictions Tuesday, including 21 counts of visa fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft from a federal jury. Prasad was previously indicted on related charges during 2016.
According to the evidence at trial, Prasad filed 19 petitions for H-1B nonimmigrant visas containing false statements, made under penalty of perjury, as to purported work projects to be performed at locations in California, including Cisco Systems. The evidence at trial showed that Cisco had no expectation that the foreign workers who were the beneficiaries of the visa petitions would actually work at Cisco on an existing work project. The evidence at trial further showed that the defendant knowingly submitted forged Cisco documents to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in support of his claims that the beneficiaries would work at Cisco.
Finally, the evidence at trial showed that Prasad fraudulently used the digital signature of a Cisco employee, who was not authorized to sign Cisco employment documents, to create a document that would leave the impression that two of the H-1B workers had an existing work project at Cisco. Prasad obtained two of the H-1B visas using this fraudulent document that purports to be a fully executed Cisco contract.
“These types of fraudulent activities pose a severe threat to national security and public safety as they create vulnerabilities for terrorists and other criminals to exploit,” Tatum said. “HSI and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate such criminal activities and will hold violators accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Document fraud, also known as identity fraud, is the manufacturing, counterfeiting, alteration, sale, and/or use of identity documents and other fraudulent documents to circumvent immigration laws or for other criminal activity. Identity fraud in some cases also involves identity theft, a crime in which an imposter takes on the identity of a real person (living or deceased).
Read more about identity and benefit fraud, and HSI’s nationwide efforts to combat such crimes here: https://www.ice.gov/identity-benefit-fraud
HSI led this investigation in collaboration with U.S. Department of State and Diplomatic Security Service’s representative to the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF). The DBFTF is a multi-agency task force that coordinates investigations into fraudulent immigration documents. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Office of Fraud Detection and National Security also assisted with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Audrey B. Hemesath and Michael A. Rodriguez are prosecuting the case.
Prasad is scheduled to be sentenced, Oct. 16, by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer. Prasad faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the visa fraud. He faces a two-year mandatory prison sentence and a $250,000 fine for the aggravated identity theft counts. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.