This age-old red flag slipped from the attention of the eager beaver job-hunting Filipino nurses, who fell on the scheme of two Americans, who bilked them of thousands of dollars online after promising them non-existing jobs in Denver, Colorado.
Fortunately for the more than 25 Filipino victims, Kizzy Kalu of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and his conspirator, Philip Langerman, who listed their non-existing Adam University in Denver, were stopped cold on their tracks after they were charged before the U.S. District Court of Colorado in Denver with forced labor, mail fraud, visa fraud and other violations.
Kalu was found guilty of 89 counts of fraud violations after more than a day of deliberation by a jury last July and is awaiting sentencing on Dec. 10, 2013. Langerman, 78 of Georgia, had pleaded guilty in the conspiracy and still waiting for the date of his sentence.
Kalu is facing 20 years of sentence while Langerman, less than five.
Kalu, 48, promised the nurses jobs as nurse instructors/supervisors at a nonexistent university. But when they arrived in Denver, they were sent to work as nurses in long-term care facilities.
If you were a nurse but had no advanced degree as master’s or doctorate degree and were offered the job of instructor of a university, it should already give a clue that something was amiss with the offer.
Kalu told the nurses they would earn about $72,000 a year working at Adam University in Denver, which had no physical facilities. Langerman came into play by listing Adam University as incorporated in Colorado and holds a PhD and one of the directors, located at campus of Teiko Loretto Heights University, 3001 South Federal Boulevard, Denver, Colorado.
LABOR SHORTAGE CLAIMED
In his come-on posted on the website of Advanced Education and Training for Foreign Healthcare Professionals Group (AETFHPG), Kalu told job-seekers he would provide H-1B visas for workers, saying that Adam University faced a labor shortage and needed foreign labor to serve as nursing instructors/supervisors.
Kalu arranged with the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security to obtain them H-1B visas, which allow businesses to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If the employee quits or is fired, he needs government approval to stay under another type of visa, must find another sponsoring employer, or has to leave the U.S.
When the nurses arrived in Denver, they were told Adam University “had no students, no professors or teachers and no bona fide curriculum.” They were instead sent to work in nursing homes. The nursing homes, in turn, paid Kalu’s company, Foreign Health Care Professionals Group, $35 per hour for one of the nurses. Kalu then pocketed almost half the wage and paid the nurse $20 an hour.
When the scheme began to unravel, Kalu and Langerman told nursing homes to pay the nurses directly but required the nursing home to pay Kalu $1,200 a month.
If the facilities did not pay him, Kalu would notify the Department of Homeland Security and the nurses would lose their visas.
PAID AVERAGE OF $5,000 SPONSORSHIP H-1B VISA
The fraud finally came into the open when one nurse stopped making payments when Kalu notified immigration officials that she no longer worked for Adam University, and her visa was revoked. When visas of other nurses were revoked, Kalu and Langerman were later investigated and charged with 132 counts of various criminal violations, including commercial carrier/mail fraud, visa fraud, forced labor, attempted forced labor, trafficking in forced labor, money laundering, aiding and abetting and criminal forfeiture.
Although there were more than 25 nurses, who applied, the 49-page indictment listed victims “Count 102” and “Count 132” financial transactions, showing that each victim paid Kalu and Langerman an average of $5,000 to process the victims’ H-1B that is supposed to be shouldered by the petitioning employer, not the beneficiary.
In H1-B Visa processing, the petitioning employer is obligated to pay $1,500 (with more than 25 full-time employees) or $750 (with no more than 25 full-time employees) as an employer sponsorship fee under the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998. In some circumstances, the $750 or $1,500 may be exempted, when “the employer is an institution of higher education.”
Under Public Law 111 signed by President Obama, the petitioner employer is obligated to pay $2,000 if the employer has more than 50 employees and more than 50% employees that are on H-1B or L1 Visa status.”
The Filipino nurses victims started sending their H-1B sponsorship fees to Kalu and Langerman in the early part of 2008.