Tech Staffing Firm Pleads Guilty to H-1B Fraud

Texas-based company imported Indian workers in 'bench and switch' scheme

By John Miano on June 3, 2021

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas announced last week that Cloudgen, a Houston-based bodyshop, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit H-1B visa fraud. The company admitted to recruiting tech workers from India and falsely procuring H-1B visas for them, in what the Justice Department called a "bench and switch" scheme. According to the press release, Cloudgen would:

file documents with the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Homeland Security (DHS) containing fraudulent statements about the availability of work at third-party national employers. Cloudgen would then submit forged contracts stating each third-party company had a job for the individual Indian national. Next, based on those false documents, Cloudgen would submit paperwork to get an H-1B worker’s visa for the Indian nationals. When granted, they would use that visa to allow the Indian nationals to enter the United States.

The information filed in the case alleged that once the nonimmigrants entered the United States, they were either not paid or were placed in the job market at large to find work. Cloudgen also extended workers’ visas based on the same fraudulent information and took a percentage of their salaries as “fees”.

Reporting on this case has followed the usual pattern in the American media: It has been totally ignored. One has to go to the Indian press to find out what is happening.

Other recent examples of H-1B abuse that have received only local news coverage include:

Cloudgen will be sentenced on September 16.