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Charlotte man pleads guilty to visa scheme

An Indian national who lived in Charlotte and president of a Pineville IT company pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to operating an illegal visa scheme.

Phani Raju Bhima Raju, 41, admitted guilt to five federal charges ranging from conspiracy to violate U.S. laws to money laundering conspiracy for his participation in a fraudulent scheme to obtain false H-1B immigration visas for foreign workers.

Court documents show Raju’s company iFuturistics – a business based in Delaware but headquartered in Pineville – made $13.2 million by filing fraudulent immigration documents and claiming that skilled IT workers recruited from outside the U.S. would be staffed in the Pineville office.

But contrary to salary claims, these workers received little or no pay from iFuturistics.

Raju charges come with $850,000 in fines and he has also agreed to pay restitution to any victims harmed in his scheme, officials said. His prison sentencing hearing has not been set yet.

Steele: 704-358-5067 on Twitter: @steelecs
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