A U.S. Magistrate Judge has sentenced 58-year-old Indian American teacher George Mariadas Kurusu for eleven months, which he then served during the trail & to pay $53,004.51 restitution for the wire fraud scheme.
Kurusu admitted that he had used fraudulent means to defraud individuals of an amount greater than $50,000 throughout the period of Dec 2012 – May 2016. He assured them visa packages through his company that poised as a company giving H1-B visas, teaching jobs, and the maintenance of those jobs.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas, Kurusu, who is a temporary work visa holder, built a separate company called Samaritan Educational Services (Samaritan) that which is against the general H-1B rules.
Kurusu allegedly placed ads about his firm in Hyderabad, India, calling for application from people who are interested in teaching in the United States, which will be processed for a fee. He was able to convince the candidates that they will have to move their visa & job application through his company in order to get the job.
Kurusu, who worked as a Math teacher at Fort Stockton High School in Fort Stockton, Texas, acted as a middleman in between the applicants and both the State Department, the issue of visas, & the Fort Stockton Independent School District (FSISD).
He made the victims understand that not a single penny of the amount they pay for the visa processing went to him. In the contrary, Kurusu filed the papers for a nominal fee and routed the rest to his pocket.
The victims gave Kurusu with the information needed for setting up all paperwork for visa and to obtain a job at FSISD. While developing his scheme, Kurusu used this data to place a buffer between the victims and both the State Department and FSISD.
In order to ensure that no data on his scheme is leaked, he managed to say his victims not to mention to the State Department they enlisted the services of Samaritan. Victims were also told not to contact FSISD directly, but only through him.
Subsequently, when the victims used to reach the United States, in particular within the FSISD, Kurusu made them set up a bank account & an Electronic Transfer of Funds (ETF) system. Thereafter, 15 percent of their monthly paychecks, back taxes, were wired to Kurusu’s Samaritan business bank account.
The victims were notified that the amount transferred to his company account will be used as his consulting fee. The unsuspecting victims have said that it is a fee for the other services that he will offer to make sure that they get constant employment & visa services.
Those who struggled to pay the monthly paychecks were threatened by job loss & cancellation of their visas. He also asked them not to contact the FSISD otherwise they would jeopardize all H1-B visa holders in the district. FSISD was unaware of the defendant’s scheme.
When Kurusu became aware of the investigation upon him he asked the victims not to talk to law enforcement & warned them that all the H-1B holders in the district would lose their jobs, visas and will get deported if they go against his words.
This investigation was led by agents with the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Dallas Regional Office, the United States State Department, Diplomatic Security Service, Houston Field Office, with the assistance of the United States Border Patrol in Fort Stockton, Texas. Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Miller, Jr., is prosecuting this case on side of the government.