NEWARK, NJ - A former Edison Council candidate pleaded guilty last Thursday to orchestrating an eight-year scheme to falsify employment certifications to facilitate the illegal entry of Indian immigrants into the United States and to filing a false tax return.

Former Edison Council candidate, Sandipkumar Patel, 41, of Edison, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls of the District of New Jersey to conspiring to defraud the United States and to filing a false federal income tax return.  

According to court documents filed with the plea agreement, from 2001 until 2009, Patel sponsored the visa applications of Indian nationals by falsely claiming to provide employment for them in the United States.   

Patel falsely certified on the visa applications that he would employ the immigrants in various technical fields at several New Jersey companies, thereby facilitating their illegal entry into the United States.   Over the course of the scheme, immigrants paid Patel thousands of dollars for the false certifications to fraudulently secure the visas.   

To disguise the scheme, Patel issued payroll checks and other payroll forms.   Patel required the immigrants to return the money from the checks and also to reimburse him for his payroll tax expenses.   Patel used the fraudulent pay stubs and payroll checks to support false applications to extend the visas, and Patel charged the immigrants fees for the visa extensions. 

As a result of falsely carrying the immigrant employees on his payrolls, Patel overstated his payroll expenses on his federal income tax returns by more than $1.4 million over four years, under-reporting his tax obligation by over $400,000 for those years.    

This case was investigated by the IRS-CI and DSS.   The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorneys Hope S. Olds and William H. Kenety of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle M. Corcione of the District of New Jersey, with assistance from the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section.

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The announcement of the guilty plea was made by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey, Chief Richard Weber of Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Director Bill A. Miller of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) with sentencing scheduled for January 6, 2015.

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