Indian sentenced in work visa scam

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – A business owner from India was sentenced Monday to 20 months in federal prison for helping hundreds of immigrants live and work illegally in New Jersey and elsewhere in the United States.

Narendra Mandalapa must also forfeit $5.7 million and two luxury cars – deemed to be proceeds of his crimes – and pay a $25,000 fine, under the penalties imposed by U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise.

Mandalapa, 36, was owner and president of Cybersoftec Inc., a business consulting firm based in Edison in 2004 and 2005.

Cybersoftec also claimed offices in Portland, Maine, and in New Hampshire, and obtained more than 150 certifications in the two states for temporary work visas in 2004 and 2005 through the U.S. Department of Labor, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Cybersoftec, according to Maine Department of Labor records, also filed about 50 labor-certification applications in Maine for green cards, which allow foreigners to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.

Mandalapa had pleaded guilty to immigration fraud, admitting that he got up to $22,000 from immigrants to file fraudulent documents. Those included I-140s, which are petitions for an alien worker to become a lawful U.S. resident.

Mandalapa has been in custody since his arrest Nov. 3, 2005. His lawyer, Bruno Bier, said Mandalapa will get credit for his 14 months of confinement and will spend about six months in prison before he will likely face deportation proceedings.

None of the indictments on 29 counts of immigration fraud, money laundering and mail fraud related to his applications for green cards were linked to activities in Maine. Mandalapa pleaded guilty to one count as part of a plea bargain.

Bier said Cybersoftec is no longer in business.

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