Trio Charged With Visa Fraud

By: 13 News
By: 13 News

Topeka (WIBW) - A Topeka couple is accused of working with a Colorado man to fraudulently get documents to stay in the U.S.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday charges Mahesh Gangineni and his wife, Komali Donavalli, of Topeka along with Sankar Chava of Littleton, Colorado with conspiracy to fraudulantly obtain an H-1B visa.

Prosecutors say Chava and Gangineni, who owned a Topeka gas station, created false paperwork showing Gangineni did contract computer work for Chava's company. The indictment says Donavalli would write checks to Chava, so Chava could then write what appeared to be payroll checks for Gangineni.

Prosecutors say the purpose of the checks was to support the ongoing visa fraud. An H-1B visa allows workers with specialized knowledge to reside in the U.S. and potentially receive Legal Alien Permanent Residence status.

In addition to the visa fraud, Gangineni and Donavalli are charged with structuring financial transactions worth about $2 million at four Topeka banks to evade the Bank Secrecy Act. That act requires reports on transactions of $10,000 or more.

If convicted, the three each face a maximum five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the conspiracy charge. The financial charge carries another maximum five years and $250,000 fine.

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