May 28, 2004 – LAWFUEL – In a criminal complaint filed today in federal court in Santa Ana, two men who operate a Fountain Valley immigration consulting firm were charged with submitting false petitions to fraudulently obtain employment-based visas for hundreds of aliens seeking to come to, or stay in, the United States.
The complaint charges that Naveed Akhter, 41, of Huntington Beach, and Nurrudin Shaikh, 46, of Norwalk, filed the fraudulent visa petitions with the California Employment Development Department and U.S. Department of Labor. Federal agents arrested Akhter at his Fountain Valley office on Thursday, and Shaikh was arrested earlier today. Both men are scheduled to make their first court appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in Santa Ana.
The affidavit in support of the complaint alleges that Akhter and Shaikh engaged in the immigration fraud scheme through Reachworld, Inc., a Fountain Valley immigration consulting firm doing business under the name of “Reach USA.” Akhter and Shaikh allegedly filed the fraudulent visa petitions on behalf of petitioning employers who needed to hire alien workers to fill construction and computer programming jobs. The petitioning employers were identified with names such as “Renovationmax of Irvine,” “Renovationmax of Costa Mesa,” “Sapron of Newport Beach” and “Sapron of Tustin.” In fact, the petitioning employers were fictitious entities created by Akhter and Shaikh, and the jobs allegedly open to the alien workers also did not exist. To facilitate the scheme, Akhter and Shaikh filed hundreds of fraudulent petitions containing false statements verified under penalty of perjury.
The charge of filing a false immigration visa petition carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
The case was investigated by Special Agents from the United States Bureau of Immigration & Customs Enforcement; the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; the United States Postal Inspection Service; and the California Employment Development Department, Criminal Investigation Division.