Indian American Woman Gets 4-Year Prison Sentence for Visa Fraud
Sunitha Guntipally and her husband founded and ran two employment staffing companies for technology firms.
Sunitha Guntipally was sentenced to 52 months in prison for playing a role in a conspiracy to commit several crimes in the United States, including visa fraud, obstruction of justice, use of false documents, mail fraud, and witness-tampering.
Guntipally, the 44-year-old resident of Fremont, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charges on May 3. The sentence was given on Nov. 29 by U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh. The jury also indicted three co-defendants — Venkat Guntipally from Fremont, Pratap “Bob” Kondamoori from Incline Village, Nev and Sandhya Ramireddi of Pleasanton — in an indictment filed on May 5 last year. The indictment contains charges in association with the submission of fraudulent applications for H-1B specialty-occupation work visas.
During Guntipally’s sentencing, Judge Koh stated that the defendant’s crime does damage to the rule of law. “The defendant’s conduct undermines respect for our legal immigration system and does tremendous damage to our institutions and affects the rights of others to immigrate to the United States,” said Judge Koh.
Guntipally admitted that she and Venkat were a husband and wife team who founded and owned DS Soft Tech and Equinett — two employment-staffing companies for technology firms, in her guilty plea.
She admitted to obstructing justice, and mislead the agents and concealed the conspiracy. She also directed her co-defendant to do the same.
Guntipally also admitted that between approximately 2010 and 2014, she and her co-defendants had submitted more than a hundred additional fraudulent petitions for foreign workers to be placed at other purported companies. These end-client companies that were listed in the fraudulent H-1B applications either never received the proposed H-1B workers or never existed. They did not intend to receive these H-1B workers.
The scheme helped Guntipally and her co-conspirators to gain an unfair advantage over competing employment-staffing firms. Consequently, she and her husband earned money from these themselves as well as their companies.
She was charged with one count of conspiracy, 10 counts of substantive visa fraud, seven counts of using false statements, four counts of mail fraud, and four counts of witness tampering. Guntipally pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge while the remaining charges were dismissed.
Judge Koh ordered Sunitha Guntipally to serve three years of supervised release and to pay a fine of $50,000, along with the prison term. Each of her co-defendants has already pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the scheme. While Ramireddi was sentenced to 14 months in jail, Kondamoori has been sentenced to a prison term of 20 months. The sentencing of Venkat Guntipally is scheduled for March 21, 2018.