Del. man accused of abusing visa program, misleading immigrants

WILMINGTON -- Dozens of highly educated immigrants, most from India, were brought to Delaware over the past five years after being promised high-paying computer consulting jobs, only to find themselves warehoused at an apartment in Newark with little work and no pay for months and sometimes years.

Federal prosecutors charge that the man who brought them to the United States -- Srinivas Doppalapudi -- also may have inappropriately collected thousands of dollars in reimbursement from some to pay for their temporary worker visa fees.

Doppalapudi, an Indian citizen who is a permanent resident of the United States, is accused of conspiracy and violating immigration laws by lying to the government on temporary worker applications.

Also charged in the criminal complaint is Rakesh Mandava, who is described as an employee of Doppalapudi in court papers.

Doppalapudi's attorney, Christopher S. Koyste, said his client "made mistakes" in the way his companies completed required immigration paperwork.

"Mr. Doppalapudi greatly regrets these mistakes and understands the gravity of the situation as it not only affects him, but also the people that he employs and the companies for whom he provides services," Koyste said.

Doppalapudi lives in Delaware and operates five computer consulting companies -- each specializing in a different type of programming or service -- and he employs more than 90 people, Koyste said.

"All of the companies are going through a process of review in order to be 100 percent compliant with all United States immigration laws," he said, adding they will cooperate with the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Snyder declined to comment Thursday, saying the complaint speaks for itself.

Mandava is represented by Delaware Federal Public Defender Edson Bostic, who declined to comment.

Missing pieces

Charging documents on file at U.S. District Court in Wilmington allege Doppalapudi submitted nearly 500 temporary worker applications from 2005 to 2010, a number of which prosecutors now believe were falsified.

Most of the immigrants were brought to Delaware on the H-1B visa program, where employees can be brought in only if it is for an existing job to work in a position that requires at least a bachelor's degree. They must also be paid at least the prevailing wage or more, according to immigration law expert Matthew Hirsch. The employer, not the temporary worker, also is supposed to pay the fees associated with the visa that can cost more than $2,000 per application.

If it is done properly, Hirsch said, it costs more, not less, to hire H-1B workers.

On the surface, Doppalapudi's Delaware-based companies -- identified as Technosoft Inc., American IT Group Inc., Streamline Technologies Inc., GK Soft Inc. and PS Tech Inc. in court papers -- appeared to meet that criteria. The employees were all to be paid about $48,500 to $77,000 a year to fulfill computer consulting contracts Doppalapudi's companies had with businesses, including some in Delaware, according to court papers. But investigators found that in a number of cases, the jobs on the applications did not exist.

In one instance, Doppalapudi submitted applications for nine people to fulfill a contract with a pain management clinic in Dover, seven of which were approved. But the operator of that clinic said he never signed any such contract and never hired any of the employees.

In another case, a downstate liquor store operator hired a single employee through Doppalapudi, but prosecutors said Doppalapudi submitted paperwork for four full-time employees -- not including the one hired -- three of whom were approved.

Left out to dry

Prosecutors charge that through these bogus applications, Doppalapudi was building up a workforce he would house at company apartments and either not pay -- or pay only minimally -- while he waited for actual work or contracts to materialize.

Investigators describe this practice as "benching."

Hirsch said employers are able to engage in abusive practices like this because the workers are intimidated or fearful for their jobs, or do not understand how the system works.

One temporary worker told investigators he was interviewed at Technosoft's office in India and was offered a $60,000-per-year job at the company's Delaware location.

When he arrived in February 2008, however, he was put up at a Newark apartment owned by Technosoft and frequently was not paid despite doing work on "in-house" projects at the company. After complaining, he said he was sent to a client site for several months in 2009 -- and received the promised compensation -- but then was returned to "the bench" and was unpaid, according to prosecutors, until May 2010.

A different man told investigators that shortly after earning a master's at an American university, he was hired by Technosoft in January 2008 for a $50,000-a-year job, but said it was not until May 2010 that he was put to work and received the promised salary.

In the interim, he said, he shared an apartment with four or five other Technosoft employees and those roommates would change when "new batches of employees" arrived. At one point, he said Doppalapudi told him he needed to go out and find his own client to fulfill the terms of his visa.

During that time, he said, he was given money by Mandava to pay for food he purchased for himself and the others living in the apartment.

Hirsch said it is disappointing to hear about a case like this because "legitimate employers from all around the United States make good use of the H-1B visa to fill appropriate and legitimate needs."

He said this case appears to involve one bad organization intent on skirting the law.

 


Comments (17) -


United States James
July 11. 2011 05:03
James

This kind of thing is rampant in the IT industry. Many of these "highly skilled" fraudsters come in with fake degrees or IIT degress - IIT being a series of schools in India WHICH IS SO BAD IT CANNOT EVEN GET ACCREDITTED.

Millions of people are so desperate to get out of that shithole India that they will do and say anytning, including fraud.

And since when is 48,000 to 77,000 the prevailing wage in the computer industry? For top developers like me, it's $140K not $77,000. No wage suppression going on there.

This is a massive STEALTH INVASION PROGRAM FOLKS! They come in, stay here illegally, study in our schools, get degrees even though they are already supposed to be 'educated', maybe get married and start popping out Indian kids, and never leave.

NOW you know why the US economy is in the toilet! Faking frauds running our most valuable industry!


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 Anonymous
July 11. 2011 07:33
Anonymous

The world has been supinely lulled into falsely believing Indians as whole to be normal people , repositories of the greatest civilization with psittacine repetitions of largest democracy yadayada.

They talk & stupefy the rest about Upanishads , Ramayana etc etc. That is all.

Rotten to the core. Have been successfully carrying their negativities everywhere they go. At least thanks to plucky no nonsense Americans who do care about what is happening around the world they stand split wide open.

In fact , I feel it is America & certain other countries that DO uphold Ethics , Probity & Integrity to an appreciable extent. And extremely vital Americans KNOW what is right & wrong. And all the nuances entailed.

That fundamental ability is long gone among Indians.


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United States pinky rao
July 11. 2011 23:00
pinky rao

I have spoken to Srinivas Doppalapudi back in 2006 ,and he was never interested in hiring me. He was looking for OPTs and H1bs. He started them off with a two month training program, and then he padded their resumes and placed them at client sites. He had a network of experienced people in the different fields helping and suporting these newbies via phone calls and emails for a fee of $5/hr per person supported.

Last I heard, his wife passed away from an illness, and he moved back to India. Good luck getting justice Tong


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Canada ezygoer
July 12. 2011 00:08
ezygoer

So another example of the IT labor arbitrage game. Here it's an Indian businessman based out of Delaware. How's this guy different from IBM hiring 80K + in India and transporting them to the US to work at Indian wages ? Or an Infosys ?

And our politicians and economists are telling us that this is "globalization and free trade"  - good for the country and the economy ? Is this what we have to compete with ?

How many myths have been propagated to prop these lies for over a decade like:

- There is a shortage of programmers in the US
- We have to bring the best and the brightest to the US and keep them here
- Immigration is good for America and for innovation

The net effect has only been transfer of wealth to people on top of the food chain and high unemployment among the US middle class. Obviously a lot of IT in the US is getting done for far less than the prevailing wage and at the expense of American jobs !!


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United States James
July 12. 2011 01:34
James

1998 - Americans running IT and the US economy booming.
2011 - Millions of Indian fraudsters running IT and the biggest economic collaspe in 70 years.

ANY QUESTIONS?


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 Anonymous
July 12. 2011 11:12
Anonymous

Not just IT , the very allegedly indigenous  Upanishads , various Spiritual Texts are also understood well by Americans , British , in short by all non Indians than these good for nothing brain dead Indians.

All that you hear from them would run along the following lines :-

" You know , you know Ram came here ,this is where the Vedas came ... Krishna said this & that ...Bhagavan Ramana says be silent , be silent , be silent.... just be , just be , Being is your nature...you are not the body...Where were you during Parayana? (  evening chanting) I was looking around the hall.. you were absent...."

" Bhagavan says do not pluck any flower or leaf unnecessarily" but when that crook Nithyananda felled so many Trees in Thiruvannamalai instead of expressing outrage gave a silly smile telling " NO , but Bhagavan says all brahman everything brahman...everything happens by His Will ..so trees getting cut down is also Bhagavan's doing ..we just have to BE as Being is our nature."

That is Indian.



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 Anonymous
July 12. 2011 12:41
Anonymous

I have AAAAlways felt very strongly America should govern us Indians & India , its resources etc . Geopolitical conditions necessitate China , Gulf countries etc also are involved for synergy. That way , I like China & the other aforementioned countries also any day than this India which as Winston Churchill rightly said " is as imaginary as Equator ".

I will give you just one instance. You brilliant Americans would immediately understand. This micro level incident is the same plaguing India at macro level also creating nothing but sonorous cacophonous bluster from various politicians & vested interests.

You all must be aware India has ridiculous socialistic pretensions. That is a given when too many parasitical scum abound. Certain Indian Ex-Army Personnel have been living in a colony in Chennai. In India , they are the ONLY ones disciplined & dependable.

In their colony they have assiduously managed to plant & grow lots of fruit bearing trees , plants , flowers etc. Indians as a whole justify that it is perfectly alright for the alleged "poor" to steal , tell lies do anti social acts. No one can admonish them as there is a powerful lobby for the oh-so-poor parasites. Their debauched  parents also instil such warped logic in them. Useless Indian movies that useless Indians sit & internalise also approves of such mindset.

Some " poor " boys of school going age have been routinely trespassing into their colony , pelting stones at the trees to pluck mangoes , guavas , walnuts/almonds. This cruel act is labelled " fun games " by their parents & their cheerleaders. " After aaaall pooooooor kids who are spending their holidays in such fun filled ways " is the outrageously plaintive justification you hear.

The Army Personnel living there have helplessly borne such acts.  Recently one of the boys called Dilshan is alleged to have succumbed to bullet injury. Apparently the righteously indignant retired Lieutent Colonel has fired a warning shot & this Dilshan climbed down the tree hurriedly sprinting over the compound wall thus escaping uncaught to return again for more such virulent poachings .

The plethora of Indian politicains have been baying for the Lieutenet Colonel's blood. It is indeed very sad as his entire family have been serving in Indian Army for many generations.It is such a dangerous precedent.

Armymen ought not to be adjudged the way rest of the people are.This is not the first trespassing. Those thieves in the guise of pesky unruly children have never asked them for handouts of mangoes etc by approaching them in a dignified proper way ever. Indian " poor " are kneejerkily anti elitist. In any accidents also even if the pedestrian is at fault , the mob would pummel the rich in cars. Often many have got killed also.

Recently in the same Tamil Nadu  a Police Inspector was cut down by sword wielding anti socials. He was left bleeding in the main road with Ministers too callously watching over his death. Newspapers thrive by screaming " what is this happening yadayada " & the next day some other more gruesome accidents happen for them to forget the Inspector & editorialise the new accident with " what is this happening...we want commission of enquiry....when we went to AmericAAAA , Germanyeeee we found everything orderly , disciplined...we the contemporary (sic) IT giants , the wannabe superpower of Asia should do this & that  , here & there , sooner or later". Readers would doff their hats with " hats off to you Editor for lambasting with such a scathing article. Pen is mightier than the sword blahblah".



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 Anonymous
July 12. 2011 12:48
Anonymous

Correction:-


Apparently the righteously indignant retired Lieutent Colonel has fired a warning shot & this Dilshan climbed down the tree hurriedly sprinting over the compound wall thus hoping to  escape uncaught to return again for more such virulent poachings . But caught the bullet & died.


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 Anonymous
July 12. 2011 12:49
Anonymous

Correction:-


Apparently the righteously indignant retired Lieutent Colonel has fired a warning shot & this Dilshan climbed down the tree hurriedly sprinting over the compound wall thus hoping to  escape uncaught to return again for more such virulent poachings . But caught the bullet & died.


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United States anon
July 12. 2011 14:12
anon

"Dozens of highly educated immigrants" what does that mean.all non euro american labour force in america will undermine the market and evenutally destroy it.Mark my words.


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Canada ezygoer
July 13. 2011 00:44
ezygoer

1998 - Americans running IT and the US economy booming.

In between came H1-B, outsourcing outfits like Infosys, Corporate America's adoption of Globalization to replace American labor with cheap imports from outsourcing firms and adoption of their business model i.e IBM visas like L-1 to facilitate the movement of cheap labor ... with the net result of TOTAL DISASTER for the US techie.

2011 - Millions of Indian fraudsters running IT and the biggest economic collaspe in 70 years.


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Canada ezygoer
July 14. 2011 00:22
ezygoer

".. only to find themselves warehoused at an apartment in Newark with little work and no pay for months and sometimes years.. "

Globalization enabled by free trade laws with convenient visas or modern day Slavery ?


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July 15. 2011 10:45
Taxidriver

This is all part of the larger issue - the endless pursuit of cheap labor.  Whether it is IT professionals or the upcoming fiasco with the Mexican truck drivers (just wait a couple of months).  Arguing for short-term consequences will get us nowhere.  We all need (IT, blue-collar, all US workers) to understand the core issue, the MORALITY of the thing.

500,000 Americans gave their lives to this principle in the 1860's, and since the late 1970's we have been forgetting what they fought for.

If we IT types keep pluging for our own little cause, then we stand divided from the rest of Americans who are now working for from min-wage (or less) to $10.00 an hour and trying to survive on that.  Free-lunch trade is WRONG.  Globalization is WRONG - morally wrong.  It is a direct assault on our very liberty.  

The enemy is not India per se, the enemy is the plantation owner right here at home.

Unless we begin to understand this, and FAST, we are all of us doomed.  

TD


http://www.helotry.org/http://www.helotry.org/


Canada ezygoer
July 18. 2011 00:45
ezygoer

The plantation owner is the Main enemy of the American working class as the enabler followed by their lobbyists..
Then come the owners of outsourcing outfits in foreign countries who will deal with anyone in the US as long as money can be made..

And as long as the lies that we have become so used to hear ....
- There is a shortage of programmers in the US
- We have to bring the best and the brightest to the US and keep them here
- Immigration is good for America and for innovation
- We do not have enough people in the STEM fields etc etc
- American tech grads are unemployable
- Globalization is good for American jobs
can be perperated the game will go on to the detriment of the US techie.


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United States greatbharat
July 19. 2011 19:15
greatbharat

We are the greatest civilization the world has ever seen, and we are going to become the greatest civilization again by taking over America via their jobs, businesses, etc. There's nothing insurgents like you can do, I agree with you when you say that Indian colleagues are the worst fellows to work with, since I hate all my colleagues, but I have been told back in India that that's how you are supposed to be with your colleagues, to be like an a**hole, I have been also told that if you are nice to your colleagues, they would stab you in the back, atleast that's what happens in India, they are like a pack of dogs, any team with a lot of Indian colleagues becomes a hunting pack with each one trying to pass on the blame to the next one.

I can't imagine a work place which isn't like that, I don't even know if the American IT workplace was as such before the Indian invasion took over everything.


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Canada ezygoer
July 20. 2011 02:13
ezygoer

Not too sure if India is the greatest or will be .. but sure is cheap and it's citizens will stoop to any level for the dollar which is also losing value and seem desperate to come and stay in the US .. Pity the US for allowing these roaches to roam the land in the name of globalization or the pursuit of cheap labor. Amusing to see the arrogance of being allowed to bite the hand that feeds .. !!

Unfortunately the US has stupid laws to allow these imports over time to settle in the country and demand equal wages !!

Well since the American techie is all but wiped out due to this maybe the cheap Indian import has a point !!


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United States Drifter
July 20. 2011 23:05
Drifter

@bharat You pakis aren't going anywhere. indians are the #1 shoplifters, your culture is known for corruption and you still have yet to master plumbing. Take some lessons from the Romans on sewers and get back to us. Otherwise you're just making absurd statements.


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