NEWARK, N.J. – A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man was arrested this morning for allegedly submitting 11 fraudulent H-1B visa applications as well as fraudulently procuring his own citizenship, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Neeraj Sharma, 43, of Piscataway, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of visa fraud and one count of naturalization fraud. Sharma is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Sharma recruited foreign workers with purported IT expertise who sought work in the United States. When submitting the potential staffers’ H-1B visa paperwork to U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services, Sharma falsely represented that the foreign workers had full-time positions awaiting them at a national bank, a prerequisite to securing their visas. In fact, Sharma had never secured work for the applicants and submitted phony letters to USCIS on the bank’s letterhead with forged signatures of bank executives. The H-1B program applies to employers seeking to hire nonimmigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.
The visa and naturalization fraud charges carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian A. Michael, the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, New York Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael C. Mikulka, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office of Fraud Detection and National Security, Vermont and Newark Field Offices, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan L. O’Neill of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Public Protection Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.