Two Indian-American brothers have been convicted on charges of H-1B visa fraud and will face a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, the Department of Justice has said.

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 harbour illegal aliens, and four counts of wire fraud.

Representational image | Source: PTI

A sentencing date has not been set. Atul Nanda and Jiten Nanda are owners of Dibon Solutions, an information technology consulting company located in Texas.

During the six-day trial, federal prosecutors presented evidence at trial that as part of their scheme, the Nanda brothers recruited foreign workers with expertise who wanted to work in the US.

They sponsored the workers’ H-1B visa with the stated purpose of working at Dibon headquarters in Carrolton, Texas but, in fact, did not have an actual position at the time they were recruited and knew the workers would ultimately provide consulting services to third-party companies located throughout the US.

Contrary to representations made 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.

Representational image | Source: Reuters

Additionally, in Dibon’s visa paperwork, the Nanda brothers falsely represented that the workers had full-time positions and were paid an annual salary, as required by regulation to secure the visas, federal prosecutors alleged.

Federal prosecutors alleged that 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’,” they said.