News from the Courts

Posted on: May 29th, 2018
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Owner of Medical Staffing Agency Indicted for Visa Fraud Conspiracy

A Brooklyn, New York based federal grand jury charged a business owner with visa fraud after it was determined that she brought citizens of the Philippines into the country for the purpose of financial profit. Rena Beduya Avendula, who is the owner and managing executive of Professional Placement & recruitment, Inc. a staffing company specializing in providing nurses to elderly care facilities, has been charged with five counts of visa fraud and with conspiring to defraud the United States, commit visa fraud and illegally bring aliens into the United States. United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Richard P. Donoghue stated that, “Avendula engineered a fraud scheme for personal profit by creating fake job positions to deceive a government program that allows a limited number of foreign nationals to enter the United States temporarily to fill highly specialized positions.” Between October 2009 and February 2015, Avendula allegedly used the staffing company to bring Fillipino nurses into the United States by claiming to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the individuals would qualify for H-1B visas by receiving employment in specialty occupations upon their arrival. Avendula allegedly sponsored dozens of applications in which she purported the applicant nurses would receive specialized employment at prevailing wage rates; in actuality, the government contends the nurses received employment as practical nurses or registered nurses at a much lower wage. If convicted, Avendula could face up to 10 years imprisonment for the visa fraud charges, and 10 years’ imprisonment for each individual she fraudulently brought to the United States in connection with the visa fraud conspiracy.

For more information, view the release from the Department of Justice.

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IT Companies File Lawsuit to Stop Changes to H-1B Policy

On May 1, three IT companies filed a lawsuit calling for an injunction on recent policy changes made by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with regards to the H-1B program and the stricter examination of situations in which H-1B employers send their workers to third-party worksites. The changes put forth by USCIS require employers sending H-1B workers to third party worksites to submit additional detailed documents. The lawsuit asserts that the changes made by ICE extend beyond the agency’s authority and fly in the face of rules established by the Department of Justice, which shares responsibility for H-1B program with ICE.

For more information, view the full article or the full case.

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