Department of JusticeOffice of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThursday, February 16, 2017
Kansas Agricultural Scientist Convicted in Theft of Engineered Rice
A federal jury returned guilty verdicts today in the case of a Chinese scientist, who was charged with conspiring to steal samples of a variety of rice seeds from a Kansas biopharmaceutical research facility.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary B. McCord of the Justice Department’s National Security Division and U.S. Attorney Tom Beall of the District of Kansas made the announcement.
Weiqiang Zhang, 50, a Chinese national residing in Manhattan, Kansas, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to steal trade secrets, one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property.
Evidence at trial established that Zhang worked as a rice breeder for Ventria Bioscience in Junction City, Kansas. Ventria develops genetically programmed rice to express recombinant human proteins, which are then extracted for use in the therapeutic and medical fields. Zhang has a master’s degree in agriculture from Shengyang Agricultural University in China and a doctorate degree from Louisiana State University.
According to trial evidence, Zhang acquired without authorization hundreds of rice seeds produced by Ventria and stored them at his residence in Manhattan. The rice seeds have a wide variety of health research applications and were developed to express either human serum albumin, contained in blood, or lactoferrin, an iron-binding protein found, for example, in human milk. Ventria used locked doors with magnetic card readers to restrict access to the temperature-controlled environment where the seeds were stored and processed.
Trial evidence demonstrated that in the summer of 2013, personnel from a crop research institute in China visited Zhang at his home in Manhattan. Zhang drove the visitors to tour facilities in Iowa, Missouri and Ohio. On Aug. 7, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found seeds belonging to Ventria in the luggage of Zhang’s visitors as they prepared to leave the United States for China.
The FBI’s Little Rock, Arkansas, Field Office and Kansas City, Missouri, Field Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas investigated the case. Trial Attorney Matt Walczewski of the National Security Division, Trial Attorneys Brian Resler and Evan Williams of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Rask of the District of Kansas prosecuted the case.
WASHINGTON: An Indian-origin man, who has been charged in the US with fraud and aggravated identity theft for obtaining two H-1B visas by false immigration documents, has rejected the allegations.
“No Grand Jury has indicted me. I have categorically rejected all the charges and I have requested a Grand Jury. No evidence has been shared with me and there has been no trial yet (we did not even had a pre-trial yet).
“It is, therefore, very unfortunate that the US Attorney’s office has chosen to release this information without the trial and due diligence,” 49-year-old Abhijit Prasad said in a statement.
According to a release issued by US Attorney’s Office Eastern District of California, the federal grand jury returned a 33-count indictment on December 23 against Mr Prasad of Tracy, California, charging him with 31 counts of visa fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to the indictment, Prasad filed 31 petitions for H-1B nonimmigrant visas containing false statements, made under penalty of perjury, as to purported work projects to be performed at various locations in California.
Department of JusticeU.S. Attorney’s OfficeEastern District of California
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFriday, December 23, 2016
Tracy Resident Indicted On Over Thirty Counts Of “H-1b” Visa Fraud And Two Counts Of Aggravated Identity Theft
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a 33-count indictment yesterday against Abhijit Prasad, 49, of Tracy, California, charging him with 31 counts of visa fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to the indictment, Prasad filed 31 petitions for H-1B nonimmigrant visas containing false statements, made under penalty of perjury, as to purported work projects to be performed at various locations in California. The indictment further alleges that Prasad obtained two H-1B visas procured by fraud and false statements, and used the means of identification of a real person to effectuate his visa fraud scheme.
The prosecution is the result of an investigation led by the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service’s representative to the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (“DBFTF”), overseen by the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations. The DBFTF is a multi-agency task force that coordinates investigations into fraudulent immigration documents. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Office of Fraud Detection and National Security also assisted with the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Nirav Desai is prosecuting the case.
On December 23, 2016, the defendant was arraigned on the indictment and released with conditions, including the surrender of his passport and a bond until a further detention hearing. The defendant’s next appearance is on December 28, 2016, before a U.S. Magistrate Judge.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten (10) years on each visa fraud count, and a $250,000 fine. He faces a two-year mandatory, consecutive sentence on the aggravated identity theft counts, as well as a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Fraud, fraud, fraud.
Fraud as far as the eyes can see.
Fraud from ocean to ocean.
Fraud that never happened in American before the H-1B scam in 1990 was implemented.
Department of JusticeU.S. Attorney’s OfficeSouthern District of New York
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEWednesday, December 7, 2016
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Two Individuals In Connection With Bribery And Kickback Scheme To Secure Business From A Nonprofit Health Organization
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced the unsealing of charges today against NIMESH PATEL, a former information technology employee at a large national nonprofit organization (the “Society”) and DILIP VADLAMUDI, the owner of an information technology outsourcing company located in Indiana, for engaging in a bribery and kickback scheme. PATEL was arrested this morning in New Jersey, and was presented today before United States Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker. VADLAMUDI was arrested this morning in Indiana, and was expected to be presented US v. Patel and Vadlamudi indictment.pdftoday before a Magistrate Judge in Indianapolis.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, the defendants conspired to defraud a national nonprofit organization. Patel allegedly abused his position at the nonprofit to funnel millions in fees to Vadlamudi’s company in exchange for hundreds of thousands in kickbacks. Thanks to the investigative work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the defendants’ alleged fraud scheme has been put to an end.”
USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett said: “These individuals took advantage of their business relationship by devising a scheme to ‘fatten their wallets,’ while having no regard for the victimized nonprofit organization. Postal Inspectors will always be on the forefront of bringing criminals to justice for their greedy misdeeds against the American public.”
As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
The Society is a large nonprofit health care organization with national headquarters in Westchester, New York. PATEL was employed as a senior director in the information technology group at the Society. During the time PATEL worked at the Society, he signed acknowledgements of its conflict-of-interest policy, which prohibited employees from soliciting or accepting payments from any individual or organization that had business with the Society. VADLAMUDI owned a company headquartered in Indiana (“VADLAMUDI Company-1”) that, among other things, acted as a temporary staffing company for information technology (“IT”) professionals. VADLAMUDI Company-1 had a contract with the Society pursuant to which Society employees, including PATEL, were authorized to hire temporary employees on behalf of the Society from VADLAMUDI Company-1.
From in or about October 2012 through in or about September 2014, PATEL hired numerous temporary IT employees from VADLAMUDI Company-1, which caused the Society to pay VADLAMUDI Company-1 millions of dollars in fees. During that same time period, VADLAMUDI paid PATEL approximately $274,000 in kickbacks. PATEL and VADLAMUDI exchanged emails regarding this kickback scheme. For instance, on a regular basis PATEL and VADLAMUDI exchanged spreadsheets listing the names of VADLAMUDI Company-1 temporary IT employees hired by the Society, along with a kickback amount calculated per employee.
In order to make payments to PATEL, VADLAMUDI used a bank account associated with a different company he controlled to transfer approximately $274,000 to the bank account for a shell corporation set up by PATEL. PATEL used that money for his personal expenses, including $80,000 toward a down payment on his residence and over $100,000 transferred into his personal bank account.
When the Society conducted an investigation into allegations of bribery and kickbacks in the IT department in the fall of 2014, PATEL falsely denied receiving money from VADLAMUDI.
* * *
PATEL, 45, of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, and VADLAMUDI, 45, of Carmel, Indiana, are both charged in three counts: one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud; one count of conspiring to violate the Travel Act; and one count of conspiring to commit money laundering. Counts One and Three each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Count Two carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the work of the USPIS.
This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Cooper is in charge of the prosecution.
The allegations contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.
Department of JusticeOffice of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFriday, November 18, 2016
Florida Man Convicted of Sex Trafficking in Connection with Human Trafficking Scheme Targeting Foreign University Students
Defendant Used False and Fraudulent Promises to Recruit Foreign Students to Further a Prostitution and Erotic Massage Enterprise
Jeffrey Jason Cooper, 46, of Miami Beach, Florida, was convicted late yesterday on all 11 counts for organizing a scheme to lure foreign university students into the United States under false pretenses of legitimate summer jobs, only to advertise the students to customers of his prostitution and erotic massage enterprise.
Cooper was convicted of sex trafficking and attempted sex trafficking by fraud, wire fraud, importation of persons for prostitution or immoral purposes and use of a facility of interstate commerce to operate a prostitution enterprise. A jury in the Southern District of Florida returned the verdict after four days of trial.
According to evidence presented in court, Cooper recruited foreign students from Kazakhstan through the State Department’s J-1 Summer Work Travel Program, using false and fraudulent promises of clerical jobs in a fictitious yoga studio in order to bring the students into the United States. After the students arrived in Miami in May 2011, Cooper revealed that the yoga studio did not exist and that he expected the students to perform erotic massages and commercial sex acts as part of his prostitution and erotic massage enterprise. According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, the students were advertised to customers from June 2011 until they were recovered by law enforcement in August 2011.
“Cooper preyed on students seeking to broaden their opportunities through an educational exchange program, using fraud and false promises to sell their bodies for his own profit,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “As this case demonstrates, the Civil Rights Division will continue to work vigorously with our Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team partners to bring traffickers to justice and vindicate the rights of vulnerable victims.”
“Jeffrey Cooper used deception to lure unsuspecting foreign university students across the globe, only to be exploited for the defendant’s own personal profit,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is fully committed to our international efforts to combat human trafficking – whether by fraud, force or otherwise.”
“This case is the perfect example of how victims can travel half way around the world in an effort to better themselves only to be defrauded and exploited sexually,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Selby of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami. “HSI along with our federal and international law enforcement partners will continue to work diligently to ensure that individuals like Cooper do not exploit educational work programs for their own profit.”
“Diplomatic Security is committed to using all of the tools at our disposal to prevent human trafficking,” said Director Bill A. Miller of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). “Our global presence enables our agency to serve as a liaison between U.S. and foreign law enforcement counterparts assisting both in their efforts to stop those that would manipulate instruments of international travel in order to exploit international students in this way.”
Cooper faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, a fine of up to $2,750,000 and an order to pay mandatory restitution to the victims. U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida will sentence Cooper on Feb. 16, 2017.
The case was investigated by HSI and DSS, with assistance from the Prosecutor General’s Office in Kazakhstan; the FBI Legal Attaché Office in Astana, Kazakhstan; the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the Miami Dade Police Department and the North Bay Village, Florida, Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth M. Schlessinger of the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Matthew T. Grady of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.
The Southern District of Florida is one of six Phase I Pilot Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams (ACTeams) convened through an interagency collaboration of the Departments of Justice, Labor and Homeland Security to develop high-impact federal human trafficking investigations and prosecutions involving forced labor, international sex trafficking and sex trafficking of adults by force, fraud and coercion.
Nothing but slave labor is what caste brings to our shores here in America.
Department of JusticeOffice of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThursday, November 17, 2016
California Husband and Wife Indicted on Human Trafficking Charges Related to Forced Labor of Foreign Nationals
Satish Kartan, 43, and his wife, Sharmistha Barai, 38, of Stockton, California, were indicted by a grand jury today for forced labor and conspiracy to commit forced labor. Kartan was also charged with fraud in contacting foreign labor and Barai was also charged with benefiting from forced labor.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert of the Eastern District of California announced the indictment.
According to court documents, between Feb. 21, 2014, and Oct. 3, 2016, Kartan and Barai hired workers from overseas to perform domestic labor in their homes in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Stockton and elsewhere in the United States. In advertisements seeking workers on the internet and India-based newspapers, the defendants made false claims regarding the wages and the duties of employment. Once the workers arrived at the defendants’ residences, Kartan and Barai forced them to work 18 hours a day with limited rest and nourishment. The defendants did not pay wages and used force, physical restraint and coercive conduct to get the workers to perform the labor and services.
The indictment alleges that Kartan and Barai struck one worker on multiple occasions, including one incident where Kartan grabbed her hands and caused them to be burned over the flames of a gas stove. Moreover, the indictment alleges that the defendants failed to pay another worker and told her that they would call the police if she tried to leave. When she was ultimately able to arrange to be picked up from the defendants’ house, Kartan refused to provide her with the access code to the gated community so that her ride could enter.
On Oct. 21, 2016, Kartan and Barai were arrested on a criminal complaint and were released on bond with special conditions that prohibit them from hiring any nonrelatives to perform domestic services or child care work for them. The defendants are also prohibited from directly or indirectly contacting any of their prior domestic workers. Kartan and Barai are scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 21, 2016.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and the Stockton Police Department. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Sigal and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nirav Desai of the Eastern District of California are prosecuting the case, with the assistance of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.
Sacramento is one of six districts designated through a competitive, nationwide selection process as a Phase II Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team, through the interagency ACTeam Initiative of the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor. ACTeams focus on developing high-impact human trafficking investigations and prosecutions involving forced labor, international sex trafficking and sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion through interagency collaboration among federal prosecutors and federal investigative agencies.
Department of JusticeOffice of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMonday, November 14, 2016
Former Autonomy CFO Charged with Wire Fraud
Defendant Allegedly Defrauded Hewlett-Packard Company in the Acquisition of Autonomy for $11 Billion
A federal grand jury indicted Sushovan Hussain, 52, a citizen and resident of the United Kingdom, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and multiple counts of wire fraud. According to the indictment filed last Nov. 10, Hussain allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud purchasers and sellers of securities of Autonomy Corporation plc (Autonomy) and Hewlett-Packard Company about the true performance of Autonomy’s business, its financial condition and its prospects for growth.
According to the indictment, Hussain, was the former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Autonomy, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom. Autonomy maintained dual headquarters in San Francisco and Cambridge. In 2010, about 68 percent of Autonomy’s reported revenues came from the United States and other countries in the Americas.
The case involves the acquisition by Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard Company and Hewlett-Packard Vision B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of HP (collectively HP), of Autonomy. On Aug. 18, 2011, HP entered into an offer agreement with Autonomy and publicly announced its offer to acquire Autonomy for approximately $11 billion. On Oct. 3, 2011, HP’s acquisition of Autonomy closed and HP acquired control of Autonomy.
According to the indictment, between 2009 and 2011, Hussain artificially inflated Autonomy’s revenues by backdating written agreements to record revenue in prior periods; recorded revenue on contracts that were subject to side letters or other contingencies that impacted revenue recognition; improperly recorded revenue for reciprocal or roundtrip transactions; and made false and misleading statements to Autonomy’s independent auditor about transactions allegedly supporting the recognition of revenue and other items in Autonomy’s financial statements. In so doing, Hussain allegedly issued materially false and misleading quarterly and annual financial statements on behalf of Autonomy. The indictment further alleges that defendant and others provided these financial statements to HP during the time that HP was considering whether to purchase Autonomy.
In addition, the indictment alleges that Hussain caused Autonomy to make materially false and misleading statements directly to HP regarding Autonomy’s financial condition, performance and business during the negotiations between HP and Autonomy leading up to the Aug. 18, 2011, acquisition announcement. Allegedly, Hussain made false and misleading statements about the nature of Autonomy’s products, concealed Autonomy’s non-appliance hardware sales and made other false and misleading statements during HP’s “due diligence” of Autonomy. In sum, the indictment charges Hussain with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 14 counts of wire fraud.
No federal court appearance has yet been scheduled for the defendant.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, for each count of wire fraud and for the conspiracy count. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert S. Leach and Adam A. Reeves are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Phillip Villanueva and Bridget Kilkenny. The prosecution is the result of a multi-year investigation involving the FBI and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Detroit-Area Home Health Care Agency Co-Owner Sentenced to 96 Months in Prison for $33 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
The co-owner of a Detroit home health care company was sentenced today to 96 months in prison for his role in a Medicare fraud scheme that caused approximately $33 million in losses.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios of the FBI’s Detroit Division and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office made the announcement.
Badar Ahmadani, 49, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy of the Eastern District of Michigan, who also ordered him to pay $38,150,113.64 in restitution. On July 27, 2015, Ahmadani was convicted at trial of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks.
According to evidence presented at trial, Ahmadani participated in a scheme in which from 2006 through 2011, he and his co-conspirators obtained patients by paying cash kickbacks to recruiters, who in turn paid cash to patients to induce them to sign up for home health care with companies owned by co-defendant Zafar Mehmood: Access Care Home Care Inc., Patient Care Home Care Inc., Hands On Healing Home Care Inc. (which Ahmadani co-owned) and All State Home Care Inc. The evidence also showed that Mehmood and Ahmadani paid kickbacks to physicians to refer patients to the companies for home health care services that were medically unnecessary as well as not provided.
On Oct. 28, 2016, Mehmood was sentenced to serve 360 months in prison and to pay $40,488,106.98 in restitution. Mehmood was convicted at trial with Ahmadani of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, four counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, two counts of money laundering and two counts of obstruction of justice.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Niall M. O’Donnell and A. Brendan Stewart prosecuted the case.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,900 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $10 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
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