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Indian-American entrepreneurs charged with H-1B visa fraud

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dc-Cover-g9b8l508h0ij2ehp5541fctj51-20160317152804.MediSAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Four Indian Americans — Sunitha Guntipally, Venkat Guntipally, Pratap Kondamoori, Sandhya Ramireddi — were charged with conspiracy to commit H-1B visa fraud, mail fraud, use of false documents and other offenses last week.

Guntipally and Ramireddi were charged additionally with witness tampering, and Kondamoori was issued a charge of obstruction of justice, according to the Justice Department. The 33-count indictment alleges crimes in connection with the submission of fraudulent applications for H-1B specialty-occupation work visas.

The four co-defendants allegedly employed three California corporations in the submission of more than 100 fraudulent H-1B visa applications, according to the indictment.

One of those companies, Fremont-based DS Soft Tech and Equinett, was founded and owned by the husband and wife team of Venkat and Sunitha Guntipally, according to the indictment. The two additionally founded two staffing-firms. Venkat served as the president for both companies, with his wife serving as vice president.

The indictment alleges that all of the companies founded never actually existed, and that the companies never intended to receive the foreign workers whose names were listed on the H-1B applications. Between 2012 and 2013, DS Soft Tech and Equinett submitted approximately 22 separate petitions for H-1B workers for a company named SemSolar, Inc., operated by Kondamoori, according to the indictment. The petitions and supporting documents stated that workers would be placed at SemSolar to work on a specific product. The defendants allegedly knew that no such product existed, and had no intention of placing said workers at SemSolar in any capacity.

During the four year period all of this was going on between 2010 and 2014, the co-defendants generated net-profits of $3.3 million and gross profits of approximately $17 million, the indictment said.

As mentioned previously, Kondamoori, Sunitha Guntipally and Ramireddi have been additionally alleged to have made attempts to conceal the defendants’ conduct.

Kondamoori met with federal law enforcement officers who were investigating the visa fraud, and is alleged to have told said officers that SemSolar was developing a product called “Eftia Master Scribe,” which required the labor of H-1B workers. He added that Softbank, Sprint Wireless’ parent company, was an investor and business partner of other companies he had founded. All such representations are false, the indictment said.

Guntipally is alleged to have provided H-1B candidates with false documents or advised the workers to intentionally mislead government agents. His objective was to “hinder, delay, and prevent the beneficiary from communicating truthful information to government agents,” the indictment said.

Business

New Zealand eliminates India in cricket World Cup

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New Zealand wins Cricket

MANCHESTER, England (Diya TV) — After a rain delay stopped play between New Zealand and India, when play resumed, the Kiwis held on to win by 18 runs, knocking India out of the Cricket World Cup. It’s on to the championship round for New Zealand.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided an Indian restaurant in Washington DC, detaining several employees.

Airbnb, the Silicon Valley couchsurfing startup turned hospitality behemoth, says they made a direct economic impact of around $150 million in India in 2018.

Indian Airbnb hosts collectively made almost $28 million and welcomed nearly 800,000 guests last year. 

Chennai-based speech recognition startup, Uniphore Software Systems, raised $38 million as part of its Series C round. They’ve received funding from California venture capital firm March Capital Partners and former Cisco CEO John Chambers. 

And Indo-Australian Priya Serrao was crowned Miss Universe Australia 2019.

The 26-year-old policy advisor from the state of Victoria said she will use her new platform to promote multiculturalism. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Business

Trump says tariffs by India are ‘No longer acceptable’

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Tariffs no longer acceptable

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — In a tweet, President Trump targeted India once again, saying “India has long had a field day putting Tariffs on American products. No longer acceptable.”

Yet earlier this year, the Trump administration stripped India of a preferential status that exempted billions of dollars worth of products from U.S. levies.

One of the most unique characters ever to run for President has died. Billionaire businessman Ross Perot was 89. Many give his independent campaign in 1992 credit for helping Bill Clinton beat incumbent George H.W. Bush.

A day after Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell got out of the race, another billionaire businessman, Tom Steyer, jumped into the Presidential fray.

India’s OlaCabs recently launched its ride-sharing services in London. And now Ola Electric, their electric vehicle spinoff, just raised a $250 million Series B round at a $1 billion valuation. It plans to bring 10,000 vehicles to the road this year.

And the world will have to wait another day to find out who will play for the Cricket World Cup, after a rain delay stopped play between New Zealand and India.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Arts & Culture

US India trade talks resume after G20 summit, in New Delhi

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US-India Trade Talks

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — India and the U.S. will resume bilateral trade talks in New Delhi next week. These talks continue the dialog established by Indian Prime Minister Modi and President Trump at the Osaka G20 Summit last week.

Sikh activists launched a petition asking Presidential candidate and California Senator Kamala Harris to apologize for supporting employment discrimination against a Sikh job applicant in 2011 during her tenure as California’s attorney general.

A report by Bloomberg says Boeing turned to Indian-based subcontractors who were paid as little $9 per hour for work on the U.S. planemaker’s beleaguered 737 Max aircraft.

Mahmud Jamal is now a Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, becoming the 4th ever South Asian federal appellate judge in Canada.

A group of South Asian filmmakers including Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap and actors like Anupam Kher and Archie Panjabi are among the 842 people invited to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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