Three local restaurant owners are charged with pretending their employees worked in the computer industry to help them fraudulently obtain visas.
Charging documents say Prashanth Goguri, Kishore Konda and Mannem Reddy are the owners of Symmetric Solutions, which operates Minerva Indian Cuisine and other retail businesses in Virginia and Maryland. From 1998 until last year, the documents say, the three men submitted fraudulent immigration applications on behalf of their workers, telling authorities that the employees worked in computer technology, rather than in the restaurant industry.
That allowed employees to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the United States when they otherwise wouldn't have been eligible, prosecutors say.
Court records say the three businessmen helped at least 24 employees submit fraudulent documents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services through the scheme.
Reddy was charged by information with conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria last week. His attorney didn't return a call for comment Monday.
Criminal complaints were filed against Goguri and Konda, and warrants have been issued for their arrests. Phone numbers listed for Goguri and Konda were disconnected, and neither had a lawyer listed in court records.
The defendants provided their employees with the fraudulent tax information and employment documents necessary to secure lawful residence, court documents say.
"The aliens did not work for Symmetric Solutions in the positions described in their applications and supporting documentation but were rather employed by Minerva Cuisine restaurants," Reddy's plea agreement says.
According to the plea agreement, Reddy agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Charging documents against Goguri and Konda indicate that Reddy told authorities that all three men signed fraudulent immigration forms for workers.
Those forms included a letter stating that one worker was a business object developer when he was actually a caterer and kitchen helper and another saying an employee was a management analyst when he was a waiter, court records say.
Based on the false information in those forms, the workers obtained lawful status in the United States.
Court records show Goguri and Konda both came to the United States on worker visas in 1997. Reddy came the United States in 1987 and became a naturalized citizen in 2001.
Reddy's sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 11. He could face up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to his plea agreement.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/crime-punishment/2011/01/feds-restaurant-owners-got-fraudulent-visas-workers#ixzz1Yb8ulaGC