Virginia Man Arrested on Charges of H-1B Visa Fraud Worth $21 Million


A Sterling man was arrested last week on charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and for inducing aliens to come to the United States using fraudulently obtained H-1B visas, the Department of Justice said.

According to court documents, Ashish Sawhney, 48, allegedly used four corporations to orchestrate the improper submission of fraudulent applications for H-1B specialty-occupation work visas, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

 The six-count indictment identifies Sawhney as the director or registered agent for Value Consulting, LLC, Value Software Products, Inc. (formerly known as Value Consulting, Inc.), Business Pointers, Inc., and E-Train ERP, Inc., each of which had offices located in the Eastern District of Virginia and purported to provide information technology staffing and software development services for commercial clients in the United States.

Sawhney allegedly submitted or caused to be submitted H-1B visa application materials stating that the foreign workers named in the applications would fulfill a specific job, where in fact, no such job existed at the time of filing, the DA’s office said.

The indictment alleges that through Sawhney’s ownership and direction of the scheme, his companies generated gross profits from 2011 to 2016 of approximately $21 million. The indictment further alleges that Sawhney, who is an Indian national, attempted to naturalize as a United States citizen by submitting an application containing false statements.

Sawhney is charged with two counts of conspiracy, three counts of inducing an alien to come to and reside in the United States for commercial advantage or private financial gain, and one count of attempted naturalization fraud. If convicted, Sawhney faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Sawhney and his wife live in a 2006-built house on a corner lot with five and a half bathrooms and a cathedral/foyer valued at just under $1 million by Zillow, a story by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) said.

CIS says the case seems to be similar to others it has reported on involving people with South Asian names, both from the Eastern District of Virginia, available here and here).

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.

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