British Citizen Sentenced to 3 Years Probation, $400,000 Forfeiture for Visa Fraud

Press Statement
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Oakland, CA
January 21, 2016


OAKLAND, Calif. – A federal judge has sentenced a British man to three years of probation and the forfeiture of $400,000 for his role in a visa-fraud scheme, announced Special Agent In-Charge David Zebley of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) San Francisco Field Office.

Madhu Santhanam, 41, was sentenced on January 7, 2016, by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the Northern District of California following Santhanam’s guilty plea to a count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud.

In his December 10, 2014, plea agreement, Santhanam, owner of Maan Systems of Union City, California, admitted that he had submitted at least 25 fraudulent I-129 petitions between September 2009 and June 2013. Employers must submit these documents to obtain H-1B visas for highly skilled immigrant applicants seeking to work in the United States.

In many of his fraudulent I-129 applications, Santhanam falsely indicated that the applicants would be working at his company or placed at Fortune 500 companies, but instead he placed the workers at unapproved worksites. As part of his plea agreement, Santhanam paid a forfeiture judgment totaling $400,000.

The successful prosecution was the result of an investigation led by the DSS special agent assigned to the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF), an interagency investigative body overseen by the Homeland Security Investigations Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the U.S. Department of State's law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of the Bureau are responsible for the security of the Secretary of State and 285 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel protect visiting high‑ranking foreign dignitaries and officials, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conduct personnel security investigations. Each year, DSS participates in hundreds of arrests worldwide for passport and visa fraud. For additional information about the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, visit 2009-2017.state.gov/m/ds.


For more information, contact: DS-Press@state.gov