A former North Texas school district administrator who admitted to falsifying documents and receiving kickbacks in an H-1B teacher recruitment scheme was sentenced Monday to spend two years in federal prison and repay the school district more than $300,000 in restitution.
U.S. District Judge David Godbey ordered Victor Leos, the former human resources director for the Garland Independent School District, to spend 24 months in federal prison and pay $317,482 in restitution for falsifying immigration documents, said U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
“This school district human resources executive perpetrated a fraud on numerous overseas teachers, his school district and the U.S. government,” said Katrina W. Berger, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas, in a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Breitbart Texas reported that Leos, 63, pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit false statements for misusing the H-1B visa program and participating in the illegal gambit with outside entities when he recruited bilingual teachers from Mexico, Central and South America, plus the Philippines, to fill open teacher positions.
From around 2007 to around 2012, Leos engaged in this criminal conspiracy with outside recruiters to recruit and hire foreign teachers that Garland ISD did not necessarily need. Leos benefitted by receiving kickbacks in the form of inflated fees to teach orientation classes, travel, and other forms of remuneration.
After the foreign teachers were employed on H-1B temporary visas in the school district, Leos knew these individuals were unlikely to qualify for Form 9089s (Applications for Permanent Employment Certification). He knowingly signed and filed falsified Form 9089s with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to sponsor the teachers for employment-based permanent resident applications.
As a result of Leo’s criminal conduct, many of the good teachers he recruited were denied citizenship and their lives in the U.S., uprooted.
“He upended all these lives and perpetrated this fraud for the most selfish of reasons — personal profit, stated Berger. “HSI will continue working with our law enforcement partners to identify and disrupt immigration benefit fraud and bring to justice those involved in these illegal schemes.”
Breitbart Texas also previously reported that, by law, U.S. employers may recruit a foreign employee through the H-1B visa program when no qualified U.S. citizen can be found to fill a particular job opening, usually in a “specialty” field. The Department of Homeland Security’s Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers 2016 report listed the top five specialty workers as computer-related, architecture, engineering, and surveying related; administrative specializations, education, and medicine. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services allows a foreign worker to stay in the U.S. on the H-1B visa program for three years, although under certain circumstances it can be extended to six years.
In May, Robert H. Rogers, Leo’s attorney, said his client “apologizes” for his conduct to all Garland ISD faculty and students. At that time, Leos agreed to pay the school district $317,482 in restitution.
Neil Sanchez, the special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s Southern Regional Office said the judge’s action illuminated that “this former school official not only knowingly and willfully abused his position of trust for personal gain, but did so at the expense of the educational development of children.”
Sanchez added: “That is unacceptable. Deservedly, Mr. Leos will be held accountable for cheating Garland students and taxpayers.”
The court ordered Leos to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on January 28, 2018.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) HSI, DOL, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case.
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