A Certifiable Fraudster

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When a person certifies something, he or she attests that something is true or accurate. For example, in order to obtain a work visa in the United States, a foreign national must have a job in the country and provide certification that they actually work at a legitimate organization. An employer would need to provide documentation certifying this fact. An article published in The Times of India tells about a defendant who orchestrated an eight-year long visa fraud scheme to sponsor illegal Indian immigrants by falsely claiming to provide employment for them. (This is definitely not a recommended way to go about obtaining entry into the U.S.)

The story reports that the man sponsored the immigrants’ visa applications and claimed to provide employment for them in multiple technical fields at several New Jersey companies. His false certification on the applications caused the immigrants to obtain their visas and enter the country illegally.

The scheme involved requiring the immigrants to pay thousands of dollars for the fake certifications. The fraudster issued bogus paychecks and other payroll forms to hide the scam. (He even required the Indian nationals to pay for their payroll tax expenses.) The fake payroll checks and employment documentations were also used to extend the visas. (As you can guess, he charged his victims for this service as well.)

The scam didn’t stop there. He also ran into a bit of trouble regarding his company’s tax returns. Because he carried the immigrant Indian employees on his payroll, he claimed more payroll expenses than he should have – $1.4 million to be exact. He also underreported his taxes by more than $400,000 during the same four-year period.

The fraudster pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the U.S. and to filing a false federal income tax return. His sentencing is scheduled for next year.

Work visas are intended to bring in qualified and talented individuals to do a job, not provide a means for illegal entry into the U.S. It’s hard to say what the judge’s sentence will be in this case, but my guess is that the perpetrator’s ability to stay in this country and enjoy all of the rights and privleges offered will be jeopardized.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Indian Pleads Guilty to Visa Fraud in US,” published by The Times of India on September 5, 2014.

NEW YORK: A 41-year old Indian has pleaded guilty for running an eight-year long visa fraud scheme to facilitate the illegal entry of Indian immigrants in the US by sponsoring their visa applications and falsely claiming to provide employment for them in the country.

Sandipkumar Patel of Edison, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before US district judge William Walls of the District of New Jersey to conspiring to defraud the US and to filing a false federal income tax return.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.