Sunday, January 15, 2006

H1-B Workers Swindled and Fear Deportation -- ICE makes Arrest

"Nick" Narendra Mandalapa, an Indian national living in New Jersey and the owner of Cybersoftec, Inc., was arrested last week for fraudulent labor attestations used to acquire visas for workers on the H1-B visa program. According to some of the victims who have now formed a Yahoo group, more than 300 Indian and Pakistani workers along with their families now fear being forced to leave the country.

According to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) they "have seized $5,724,592 in assets from the suspect's bank and brokerage accounts in a massive immigration benefits fraud investigation". According to ICE computers and documents from the corporate address of Cybersoftec, Inc were seized. ICE believes that "at least $2.1 million dollars came from fees paid by individuals seeking fraudulent benefits".

One immigration official involved in the investigation said that "Immigration benefit fraud is a multi billion dollar business and can not be tolerated. This type of fraud not only steals jobs from legitimate workers but it also provides individuals to illegally enter the United States and creates a risk to national security and public safety". This type of fraud has been claimed but largely ignored in the past.

Unfortunately, the illegal activities of Cybersoftec may cause undue hardship for victims. One anonymous person who alleges to be a victim of Cybersoftec claims that he was harrased for three months by the company with promises of getting both an H1-B visa and a greencard. He claims to have paid the company $5000 for SAP training and the filing of an H1-B visa. According to the same source the company then asked for an additional $10,000 to process the greencard application, which he refused to pay.

It is against the law for companies to require workers to pay for or reimburse any of the H1-B related expenses. When this blogger asked members of the Yahoo group "lawsuit_against_cybersoftec" in how the scam works a group member going by the alias "rippedofbycs" said the following (Message 1137):

The H1B approval notice - form I797 has 2 parts. The approval notice is sent to the employer by the USCIS and the USCIS doesn't even send a copy to the employee.

The instructions on the approval notice reads that the top part is to be kept by the employer and the bottom partis to be sent to the employee. However some employers like Cybersoftec keeps both the top part and the bottom part and don't send a copy to the employee.

What happens as a result is that the H1B employee gets stuck with his employer. If he needs to change job or to travel outside of US or to even go back to his home country (and return), he needs theH1B approval notice, to show his valid status.

I hope USCIS realizes this fraud some day.

As more information on this scam and the investigation unfolds, this blogger will continue to follow the story. What is becoming more evident is that the H1-B visa program is filled with loopholes that cause the program to be easily exploited. The victims include both Indian workers who find themselves to be indentured servants, as well as American workers who see a decline in job opportunities and wages.


At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Narendra Mandalapa is the nephew of a famous movie star, Mr. Mohan Babu from a South Indian state, Andhra Pradesh. These guys think that they are above the law. Please try and find out who the lawyers for this company were. That might provide some interesting leads to other potential scams.

At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article says that I797 has two parts and one is to be 'given' to you by employer - thats not true. I797 is sent directly to the home address of the applicant. I applied for H1B and got the notice of action my mail to my US home address. But I dont know if that is also true for the applicants in India.

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I applied for H1B while in USA too, and I never got any notice sent to my by INS.
It was sent to my employer and he sent me a copy.

At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andra is the fraud capital of India as most Indians know.

Having worked in the IT industry now, I can bluntly say that a majority of these fraudsters are from Andra.

At 10:15 AM, Blogger ashwinnallari said...

This fraud has changed his name to narendra naidu and also produced movie titled "nene mukhyamantri aithe" and was released last week in Hyderabad and India.Producing a telugu movie with a minimum budget runs into 2-3 crore rupees.Where did the money come from? US Courts should jail this fraud and confiscate his property.Type in google the movie title and see truth for yourself "nene mukhyamantri aithe".Hasta La Vista


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