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Report Dated February 22, 2017 7:16 PM
An Indian-American hotel developer has been sentenced to three years of imprisonment by a US court for defrauding around 300 Chinese nationals who invested in his failed USD 900 million project.
Anshoo Sethi, 32, pleaded guilty in a Chicago court yesterday following which the judge handed down the sentence.
According to the court papers, Sethi, the founder of A Chicago Convention Center LLC, purported in 2011 to build a hotel and convention center near the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
He solicited Chinese nationals to invest USD 500,000 each in the project, plus USD 41,500 in administrative fees to his company.
Each Chinese national who participated in the project also applied for an EB-5 visa, which allows foreign investors to obtain a temporary two-year visa that could later be converted to a permanent visa upon success of an employment-generating investment.
Sethi raised approximately USD 158 million from more than 290 investors. The US Securities and Exchange Commission brought a civil lawsuit against Sethi and was able to restore approximately USD 147 million to the Chinese investors, the US Department of Justice said.
While soliciting the investors, Sethi made several false statements, including lies about funding and tax credits from the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago, none of which materialised.
The USD 900 million project never got off the ground, and no EB-5 visas were ever granted to the investors.
Report Dated February 19, 2017 6:55 PM
An Indian-origin barrister in the UK who was convicted of harassing his ex-girlfriend last year has been disbarred from practising law.
Sanjay Roy, 32, was convicted at Northampton Crown Court in July last year and given an 18-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to putting his former girlfriend in fear of violence by harassment.
The Bar Standards Board, which had suspended the lawyer soon after, decided to ban him from practising as a family law barrister, according to The Times.
“This behaviour is likely to diminish the confidence the public has in Mr Roy and the barrister profession in general,” a spokesperson for the board said.
The court had been told last year that Roy beat his former girlfriend, Bibi Taylor-Wilcott, with a belt buckle and poured iced water.
He was also said to be highly controlling and wanted her to have an abortion.
She told the court that she was made to refer to him “as master, as I was nothing but a dog or a slave” and had to “prove to be selfless and treat him as my everything to earn privileges”.
His defence team told the court last year that he was “genuinely remorseful” and his behaviour was “out of character”.
Report Dated February 15, 2017 5:42 PM
An Indian-origin human resource manager has become the third person connected with two outsourcing companies to be convicted of H1-B visa fraud in a scheme that also ripped off tech employees.
Hiral Patel, who worked for SCM Data and MMC System, admitted her guilt prosecutors said. She was found guilty of obstructing justice in connection with the scheme. Patel, 32, was arrested in May.
Sunila Dutt, a lawyer in Virginia, was convicted of involvement in the fraud in October. In December, Hari Karne, the immigration manager for an Indian company was found guilty in the same scheme. Prosecutors said that he was from Hyderabad and worked for SCM Private Limited in India, which had agreements with SCM Data and MMC System to provide staff.
Sowrabh Sharma, the New York-based owner of the two companies was arrested in September and Shikha Mohta, 31, of Jersey City who was the head of finance for the two companies, in May and both have been charged with fraud in the scheme, according to prosecutors.
The two companies recruited student visa holders or recent graduates as consultants, obtained H1-B visas meant for professionals with specialised skills and placed them with other companies requiring information technology support, according to the prosecution.
Under the terms of the H1-B visas, the consultants had to be given full-time positions and paid an agreed salary. But they were paid only when they were working at the third party companies that contracted with them, the prosecution said.
To show the government they were being paid as full-time employees, they were asked to give SCM and MMC cash equal to the salaries for periods they were not at the third party companies and their employer, the two outsourcing companies, did not pay them, according to the prosecution.
The two companies then issued them checks for those amounts, which they were made to show to the immigration authorities as proof they were working full time and receiving the wages they were supposed to for the H1-B visas, the prosecution said.
Prosecutors said in December that there were six co-conspirators in the scheme, but did not identify them. SCM Data is based in New Jersey and MMC System is headquartered in Virginia.
Report Dated February 14, 2017 6:36 PM
An Indian-origin hotel manager faces federal charges for allegedly helping a feared street gang in its drug-dealing and prostitution operations in California, according to prosecutors.
Umesh Oza, who managed two hotels in Oceanside city, was charged last week with racketeering conspiracy under laws traditionally used for organised-crime syndicates and mobsters, prosecutors said. Oza also used the name Kevin.
Oza “provided a safe haven” for the alleged members of the Westside Crips criminal street gang to carry out drug deals and prostitution, according to the prosecution.
Eleven alleged West Crips gangsters were also charged in crimes that prosecutors say took place from 2004 to 2016.
While prosecutors only identified the facilities Oza managed as “two national brand hotels”, the San Diego Tribune said they were the Coast Inn and a Motel 6.
Some of the gang members charged sold narcotics while others managed prostitutes and transported them all over the country, according to prosecutors.
Report Dated February 11, 2017 12:56 PM
India has handed over a formal request to the UK for Vijay Mallya’s extradition to face trial in India.
The CBI had moved court last November with the request. Mallya had fled to London on March 2, last year. A non-bailable warrant had been obtained against Mallya after filing a chargesheet last month. In a series of tweets towards the end of January , Mallya complained of a “witch hunt” against him.”In our country, I assumed that innocence prevails till proven guilty. Media have convicted me guilty without trial with widespread influence,” he further said.
The extradition request, officials said, had to be issued as Mallya didn’t respond to requests by the CBI and the ED to join investigations over the last 11 months. The CBI chargesheet last month said undue favours were shown to KFA in sanctioning and disbursal of loans of Rs 1,300 crore and there were many acts of omission and commission on the part of IDBI Bank officials in the process.
“About Rs 260 crore of the borrowed amount was diverted by KFA, while Rs 263 crore was used to pay salaries, TDS, income tax and loan instalments. A part of the loan amount was also diverted by Mallya for his personal expenses,” the CBI chargesheet said.