WILKES-BARRE — Two people from Luzerne County were ordered to pay almost $2 million for their roles in a foreign worker fraud scheme.
According to the Federal Court, Sudheer Bandi and Ram Challa, and several others started the scheme in 2007. They falsified documents and set up a fake company so that foreigners could get visas that allow them to work here temporarily in special occupations. But, instead of working as programmers and technicians at the “fake” computer company, the people ended up working at gas stations in the Wilkes-Barre area.
There’s no indication that the people were qualified to work in the computer industry. The visas they used to come here were intended for “specialized” occupations which did not include working at a gas station.
Bandi and Challa were charged in November 2009 and pleaded guilty the next month. They were sentenced to time served and ordered to pay $1.9 million.
Six other people from out of the area were also charged and pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme.