ATLANTA, Ga - Parmesh Dixit, 41, of Alpharetta, was sentenced to prison recently by United States District Judge Julie Carnes on charges of conspiracy to harbor aliens in violation of the law.
Punyapriya Patel, 37, also of Alpharetta was also sentenced by Carnes for his role in the same conspiracy to harbor undocumented immigrants.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Dixit, an immigration attorney, made over $1 million by submitting fraudulent applications for a specialized visa program for executives of foreign companies. Our immigration pathways are not for sale, and now Dixit is going to prison.”
"This successful conclusion of this investigation highlights ICE Homeland Security Investigations' (HSI) commitment to partnering with other law enforcement partners to protect both the integrity of our immigration system and the security of our nation,” said Brock Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of HSI in Atlanta. “This sentencing sends a strong message that HSI in conjunction with our Document & Benefit Fraud Task Force partners will continue to aggressively identify and prosecute those who engage in fraud and attempt to undermine our legal immigration process for a profit.”
“Today's sentencing underscores our efforts to investigate fraud against the Department of Labor's foreign labor certification programs. These defendants falsified labor certification applications to illegally obtain visas for foreign nationals for considerable personal financial gain. The Office of Inspector General and its law enforcement partners remain committed to combating these types of crimes,” said Richard Walker, Special Agent in Charge for the Atlanta Region of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.
Dixit was sentenced to 2 years in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. He was also ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and forfeit $1.2 million. Dixit pleaded guilty to the charges on May 6, 2011.
Patel, whom the court noted as contributing significant cooperation in the case, was sentenced to 3 years of probation, beginning with six months of home confinement.
He was also ordered to perform 80 hours of community service, and forfeit $100,000. Patel pleaded guilty to the charges on May 12, 2011.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Lawful visa programs exist through which certain high-level managers in overseas companies can legally come to the United States to work. DIXIT conspired with PATEL, a paralegal in his law office, with Hitesh Desai, 47, of Duluth, Ga, owner of “Intelli Infotek,” a software development and consultant company previously located in Duluth, and with others, to assist immigrants seeking visas that would allow them to enter or remain in the United States and work here.
Specifically, Dixit submitted fraudulent applications to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, making it appear that aliens were eligible for work visas at Intelli Infotek or other businesses through the program for high-level managers of overseas companies when they were not. Desai and his company were indicted along with Dixit and Patel on January 25, 2011.
Desai fled the United States and is considered a fugitive.
Dixit told clients he could obtain “green cards” or resident alien status for them through these lawful visa programs. Because Dixit''s clients did not in fact qualify for these programs, Dixit put false information on his clients' applications in order to make it appear that the clients did qualify.
The fraudulent information included the applicant's prior employment, biographical data, and the jobs purportedly available for the alien in the United States. Dixit charged his clients higher than normal fees as he claimed he could obtain visas for those who would otherwise not be allowed to work in the United States. The evidence showed that Dixit assisted about 40 immigrants in breaking the law and earned $1 million in the scheme.