40 Month Sentence in Tampa Visa Application Fraud Case
Ravinder Reddy Allala of Cumming, Georgia was recently sentenced in a Tampa federal courtroom to 40 months in federal prison for visa fraud and conspiracy. Allala previously pleaded guilty on November 3, 2011 and reappeared this month for sentencing.
According to court documents, between 2006 and 2010, Allala operated a company named Laconia Associates, Inc., which conducted business out of Tampa and the surrounding Tampa Bay area. Laconia purported to be an information technology consulting firm and employee leasing company. However, according to prosecutors, Allala directed Laconia submitted at least 147 false H1B visa applications to the federal government for Indian nationals. The H1B Visa Program allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, which occupations cannot be filled from within the United States by a U.S. citizen.
Prosecutors alleged, and Allala admitted that, Allala submitted many of these false visa applications under fake names. He provided federal investigators with falsified documents purporting to belong to a particular person. He further stated, in a recorded conversation, that he paid an individual in India $20,000 to assume the identity of the fake person, if needed to fool investigators. In many instances, the work place listed for the aliens was also false.
Many of the visa applications list Laconia’s address and the proposed work location of the aliens as being on Ehrlich Road, Suite 134, in Tampa. In fact, this location is a UPS store where Allala leased box number 134. Allala created and submitted a false lease to immigration officials, to represent office space at this location, despite the fact that there was no physical office space there but only a mailbox.