A 58-year-old Indian teacher in the US has been fined over USD 50,000 and ordered to serve three years of supervised release by a court for defrauding several Indians on the pretext of providing them H-1B visas and teaching jobs in America.
George Mariadas Kurusu, a H1-B visa holder and former Fort Stockton Independent School District (FSISD) teacher, was also ordered to forfeit USD 5,987 to the government and serve three years of supervised release. He has been in federal custody since his arrest in May last year.
US District Judge Louis Guirola sentenced Kurusu to time served (approximately 11 months) and ordered him to pay USD 53,004.51 restitution for the wire fraud scheme involving the hiring of Indian nationals to teach in the US.
In January, Kurusu pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud; one count of fraud in foreign labor contracting; one count of tampering with a witness, victim or an informant; and, one count of making a false statement on a visa application.
By pleading guilty, Kurusu admitted that from December 2012 to May last year, he defrauded several individuals out of more than USD 50,000 for a "visa package" provided by a company he owned which promised H1-B visas, teaching jobs, and the maintenance of those jobs and visas for his victims.
According to court records, Kurusu, established a separate business, Samaritan Educational Services (Samaritan), which he personally obtained financial benefits in violation of his visa.
Kurusu also lied on an application to renew his visa. However, he began placing advertisements in a newspaper in Hyderabad, providing services for a fee to individuals who were seeking teaching positions in the US.
Kurusu led applicants to believe that they had to go through his business in order to both obtain a visa and a job.
He asked the victims to pay large fees on the pretext they were solely to be used to complete paperwork and none would go to him.
He paid those nominal fees, but pocketed the rest. The victims initially set up all the paperwork for the visa and to obtain a job at FSISD then provided Kurusu such information along with other personal information.
Kurusu, in promoting his scheme, used this information to place a buffer between the victims and both the State Department and FSISD. Kurusu further insured his scheme was not revealed when he ordered the victims not to mention to the State Department they enlisted the services of Samaritan and not to contact FSISD directly, but only through him.
When the victims arrived in the US, in particular within the FSISD, Kurusu had the victim's set up a bank account and an Electronic Transfer of Funds (ETF) where 15 per cent of their monthly paychecks, before taxes, were wired to Kurusu's Samaritan business bank account.
When the victims began questioning the arrangement, Kurusu warned the victims that if they did not pay, they would lose their jobs and their visas; and again, advised them not to contact the FSISD otherwise they would jeopardize all H1-B visa holders in the district.
FSISD was unaware of the defendant's scheme.
Once Kurusu became aware an investigation was being conducted, he told them if they did speak to law enforcement, all the other H1-B visa holders in the district would lose their jobs and be deported.
(Feature image source: Reuters)