Press Statement
U.S. Department of Justice
Oakland, CA
October 5, 2010

United States Attorney Melinda Haag
Northern District of California

A Concord, California, businessman made his initial appearance in federal court today after being indicted for 11 counts of visa fraud, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, and Patrick Durkin, Special Agent In-Charge of the Diplomatic Security Service announced.

According to an indictment filed Sept. 30, 2010, Srinivasa Chennupati made false statements in applications to obtain high-technology worker visas for 11 applicants, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1546(a). The indictment alleges that Chennupati submitted immigration forms and supporting documentation to the government purporting to have job offers for 11 non-immigrant high-technology workers, when he had no jobs for the non-immigrant workers.

The H-1B high-technology worker visa program requires, among other things, that an American employer certify it has high-technology jobs that cannot be filled by Americans.

Chennupati was arrested today, and was released on a $25,000 bond. His next scheduled court appearance is on Oct. 19 before the Honorable Donna M. Ryu.

The maximum statutory penalty for visa fraud, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1546 is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 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, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Chinhayi Cadet is the Assistant U. S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case, with the assistance of Jeanne Carstensen. The prosecution is the result of an investigation led by the Diplomatic Security Service’s representative to the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF) overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 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.

Anyone with information about false applications for United States entry visas or passports is encouraged to contact the Diplomatic Security Service at (415) 705-1176.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Srinivasa Chennupati must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.