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The Sopranos Meet H-1B In New Jersey 324

theodp writes "We smack this IT geek around a little, take him for a nice car ride, threaten to 'take care of him' if he doesn't recant his story, give him 5 G's for his trouble, and badda boom, badda bing, case dismissed. Federal prosecutors allege that an H-1B visa-holding IT employee who was owed some $53,000 in back wages was threatened in meetings at restaurants and in his home if he didn't change his story. However, the victim captured some of what happened on tape, and two employees of an Illinois-based IT staffing company — not named in the indictment but identified by the NJ Star-Ledger as ComData Consulting Inc. of Rolling Meadows, IL — are now facing extortion-related charges and a possible 20 years in prison."
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The Sopranos Meet H-1B In New Jersey

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  • Unacceptable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @08:24PM (#31891308) Homepage

    This behavior is unacceptable from companies that have offices in America. That might be how people do business in other places, but they need to leave that shit at the door. Perhaps someday we'll realize this has been going on in Chinese restaurants and massage parlors for 50 years and do something about those too?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sznupi ( 719324 )

      You noticed that the story is about US locals doing those thing to alien working for them, right?

      • Re:Unacceptable (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 18, 2010 @08:54PM (#31891502)

        You noticed that the story is about US locals doing those thing to alien working for them, right?

        Yes, the US locals Trinath Chigurupati and Sateesh Yalamanchili were the ones who did this. If the guy you replied to had bothered to read the article he would have known that!

    • Um ya cause there's no corruption in the US.
      • This is about crime. Did someone claim that there is no crime in the USA? Note that the accused perpetrators are being prosecuted and will, if found guilty, go to prison.

      • man!.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by tanveer1979 ( 530624 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @11:54PM (#31892528) Homepage Journal

        you actually have no idea about the level of corruption in "developing countries". There may be lot of sh!t going at top level, but at grassroots level the level of corruption in US is not even a small % of what goes on in countries like India. I live there, so I know.
        Heck, to repair my phone line I was asked for a bribe directly, ad if you want a new electricity connection, be prepared to pay big.
        And guess what, in the west you have to bribe to get something "Wrong" done, in India you have to bribe for the right thing too!

        • Re:man!.. (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 19, 2010 @08:17AM (#31894506)

          My mum is from India and when I visited last year, I heard about the bribes she had to pay for an electric connection for the new house we build in her ancestral village.

          We are still waiting for a link to the water mains (bribes included) and have not bothered with a land phone line as that includes more bribes and we mostly used mobile phones anyway.

          My parents were willing to pay market rates for a couple of people to come and cut the grass in the garden there. The local workers refused, giving excuses while hoping for more pay.

          My dad got pissed off enough to buy a grass cutting machine from Singapore and used it himself when he was in India with my mum for a holiday.

          The very next day the labourers were willing to start cutting grass - for market rates.

          The house they build is currently almost 5 years old, and yet there are still some minor carpentry work outstanding with contractors still giving excuses. This just made my dad do most of the stuff himself (him being a handy man by nature).

          In the end, right now, my dad has better gear there then most of the local contractors / workers because of the shennigans they try to pull. And whenever my dad gets pissed off, guess they ain't getting work and he does it all himself.

          The whole society there is corrupt - and they almost always try to squeeze out as much as they can, and as long as they think they can get away with it / are in a position of (no matter how minor) power.

    • by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @08:36PM (#31891402) Homepage Journal

      When I was an undergrad I used to eat across the street from the Engineering building at a small Vietnamese restaurant, it was cheap and hot.

      One particular late night I came there with a few hours of Hydro HW, sat down and ordered some Pho and started taking my stuff out of my backpack when I heard this inhuman scream and a slap. I thought they were being robbed or something and froze there in terror until I started hearing the crying and "shhhhhh" sounds I remember all too well from a Catholic school upbringing, someone was being beaten in the back and whoever was doing it was trying to stop other people from finding out. I am ashamed to say it but I went outside and smoked a cigarette, ate the Pho and left as quickly as possible. I think I even left a tip. The next week I came in during the day to get something and the woman behind the counter had a fading welt in the shape of a belt across her face and she was smiling.

      So, after that shameful moment of realization I went to the Women's Resource Center on campus and told them. Never found out what happened though, that woman's face behind the counter haunts me to this day. Too many of just do nothing when we know the shitty situation those workers find themselves in.

      • by Anpheus ( 908711 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @08:39PM (#31891416)

        Don't. Do. Nothing.

      • "My name is Luka, I work at your restaurant ... "
    • Re:Unacceptable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) < minus herbivore> on Sunday April 18, 2010 @08:38PM (#31891414)

      This behavior is unacceptable from companies that have offices in America. That might be how people do business in other places, but they need to leave that shit at the door.

      Absolutely. And really, this might be how things are done elsewhere, but it is never acceptable. I'm unfamiliar with the Chinese restaurant/massage parlor comment, but these practices need to be stamped out wherever they are. Cultural relativism is criminal when it is used to excuse crimes like this.

    • Yes and no. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Oxford_Comma_Lover ( 1679530 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @10:02PM (#31891906)

      > This behavior is unacceptable from companies that have offices in America. That might be how people do business in other places, but they need to leave that shit at the door.

      I agree. We have to change it. But it's not just a foreign problem.

      This is New Jersey. If you haven't heard a story about something like this happening in New Jersey, you haven't been listening. It's like not hearing a story about questionable behavior by waste contractors in several of the nation's major cities, or not hearing about racism on the part of law enforcement in some towns in the South. Sure, there are lots of legitimate businesspeople, and waste contractors, and helpful law enforcement officers. But the other kinds also exists and even thrives. Sure, sometimes its people bringing in their problems, but we have a lot of our own.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jbssm ( 961115 )

      This behavior is unacceptable from companies that have offices in America. That might be how people do business in other places, but they need to leave that shit at the door.

      How is the parent comment rated insightful? It was US company and at least one of the crime perpetrators was a US citizen from New Jersey. It was the victim that was foreign.

      Seems to me the shit was in the US to begin with and was the people from outside US that were used to good business practices that stand up against it from the story !

      Man, then you ask why we Europeans think that Americans are full of crap ! At least in such obvious cases at least give the trouble to actually read the article before com

    • Re:Unacceptable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @10:40PM (#31892062)
      Your are so wrong when you imply that this is not an intrinsic problem in the US. It is, in fact, the corporate standard behavior for US business. Workers, clients, and investors are all disposable, and exists only to fill the bank accounts of the corrupt executive class.

      Here are some examples from today's headlines. And by today I mean this week! []

      Yesterday, the AP reported that Marlene Griffith, a widow of William Griffith, one of the 29 men killed in last week’s explosion at a coal mine in West Virginia, is suing Massey Energy, the owner of the mine. Griffith filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Raleigh County Circuit Court, arguing that Massey’s handling of work conditions at the mine plus its history of safety violations amounted to aggravated conduct that rises above the level of ordinary negligence.


      Responding to the lawsuit, Nathan Coffey, the Public Affairs Coordinator of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), took to Twitter yesterday to mock Marlene Griffith. Coffey posted a link to the AP story about Marlene Griffith, sarcastically commenting that “Everyone wants free money!” []

      As only someone from Mars doesn’t know by now, Goldman allegedly sold collateralized debt obligation, or bonds backed by mortgage securities, to institutional investors without disclosing that the specific securities were handpicked by hedge-fund manager John Paulson. Paulson was betting on the securities to fall and, for that reason, structured the securities to include losers -- not winners. []

      As expected, the line of people preparing to sue Goldman is now longer than the posers who bought the iPad on launch day. Reuters reports that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who himself has been in hot water over his much lamented decision to sell UK's gold despite protests from the BOE and likely under the guidance of Goldman and JPM, wants an investigation into the Goldman affair by the FSA, and is saying that impacted UK banks will be considering legal action. Furthermore, GB slammed Goldman after the TimesOnline reported that Goldman will pay $5.6 billion in bonuses for just three months work, including 600 million pounds for London-based staff. []

      According to reports by ProPublica/National Public Radio/This American Life that came out in early April 2010, Magnetar "sponsored" mortgage-backed collateralized debt obligations by agreeing to buy the worst tranche (portion) of the CDO, the "equity tranche". The reports claim that Magnetar then shorted (bet against) those CDOs by buying credit default swaps that insured the CDOs. If the CDOs failed, Magnetar would get back many times its initial investment in the equity tranche by receiving the insurance payoff.[2][4]

  • by IonOtter ( 629215 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @08:35PM (#31891390) Homepage

    Geeks live for this sort of crap, so don't try it.

    You will lose.

  • Free Market (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 18, 2010 @08:36PM (#31891400)
    Why shouldn't a company be allowed to do this in a free market? The Market is self-correcting, so if they do this then no one will work for them and they will go bankrupt. So let them do it, that is the American Way!
    • Re:Free Market (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Speare ( 84249 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @09:09PM (#31891588) Homepage Journal
      If they do this, then no one will work for them and they will change names and thrive. See Blackwater (nee Xe), Anderson Consulting (nee Accenture), AirTran Airways (nee ValueJet), Philip Morris (nee Altria), and perhaps as a zombie counterpoint, Caldera International (nee SCO Group).
      • If they do this, then no one will work for them and they will change names and thrive. See Blackwater (nee Xe), Anderson Consulting (nee Accenture)

        Andersen Consulting changed its name as a result of a dispute with their parent company Arthur Andersen which also resulted in Andersen Consulting becoming independent of Arthur Andersen. Further, they did so prior to the discovery of Arthur Andersen's crookedness in the Enron mess. They did not change their name to attempt to cover over any wrongdoing on their

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          They did not change their name to attempt to cover over any wrongdoing on their part.

          You say "tomato", I say their fucking thieves. It's all good.

      • Re:Free Market (Score:5, Informative)

        by SteveFoerster ( 136027 ) <steve AT stevefoerster DOT com> on Sunday April 18, 2010 @09:18PM (#31891660) Homepage

        Good examples, but FYI the word "née" works the other way around.

        • The reason why (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > Good examples, but FYI the word "née" works the other way around.

          You are correct, but you didn't explain it, and I think people will have a hard time remembering how it works if they don't know. The word née means "born" so it's like you're giving the birth name of a person. That's why you list their original name after the word née, e.g. Xe (née Blackwater).

      • Shouldn't that be Altria, nee Philip Morris?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gorbag ( 176668 )
      Even staunch libertarians don't condone fraud.
    • it would be if the workers were free to leave. hint free market has 2 sides to it.

      your a perfect example of a penis attached to a forehead.

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @08:44PM (#31891446) Homepage Journal

    Our Talent Engagement and Management Teams strongly believe in

    • Relationships built on openness and trust
    • People centric atmosphere
    • Team building culture with 360o feedback between management and employees
    • Achievement of a qualitative work life
    • Flexible work culture with family first attitude

    The capacity of recruiters for absolute BS is amazing. Mind you there are smart ethical headhunters out there, but they're few and far between.

    • by deniable ( 76198 )

      Talent Engagement And Management TEAMs. That's officially double-speak.

      Family first attitude. Yes, that family.

  • by shis-ka-bob ( 595298 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @08:47PM (#31891456)
    Email to If you have hiring authority, promise never to use them. If you don't have hiring authority, just remember the name and badmouth them to anyone who does.
  • How many years? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @09:00PM (#31891538) Homepage Journal
    20 years for extortion, and how many years for falsifying the need for entry level IT workers? I can name several unemployed people who could easily fit the task of "web development, information technology and software development" mentioned in the article. Specialized skill, yeah right.
    Judging by the content of recruiters e-mails that I get, it is not possible to get an IT related job in the United States right now unless you are an H1-B visa holder.
  • This is exactly why we have criminal law. There is a special place in hell for people who take advantage of vulnerable people, but while they are here on earth we have another place for them--prison.

    I'm outraged.

    • Re:Revolting (Score:5, Interesting)

      by carlzum ( 832868 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @09:48PM (#31891840)
      I lived in a small town on the Jersey shore and the tourist industry was controlled by organized crime. There were things like pizza shops that stayed in business without customers, suspicious fires, business owners being "encouraged" to sell, etc. Each summer an army of Mexican workers would appear out of thin air to staff the restaurants, hotels, and beaches. I figured it made sense with New York City near and the promise of work.

      A few years ago, it came to light that the local mob was working with Mexican mobs to traffic in seasonal workers across the state. They were working for next to nothing, usually tricked or coerced into service by Mexican criminals.

      Like you said, it was revolting. A lot of them were teenagers or young families with kids. It was a very small town, but we never saw them in school or playing outside. Police found homes with 70+ people crammed in every room. They were apparently told to stay out of sight and spent months with young children shut inside day and night.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...URL is:

    . []

    Hey Fed's, you listening?

  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Sunday April 18, 2010 @09:20PM (#31891670)

    I remember years back being lured to a new job with one of the incentives being that the job included health insurance. Turned out that they 'had' it terms of it was offered, not included. It was an awful plan with no employer cost coverage. The cost for my family would have been a grand a month if I had paid for it.

    I explained that I was one phone call from going back to where I came from and that the recruiters deceptive words were going to have a cost. In the end they ate the cost of the insurance, and I stayed where I was. Some people will bully you unless you stand up for yourself. All that being said, in today's economy I don't know if that is still good advice.

    How about accountability in H1B with public records? That would solve this kind of problem for the poor guy who was owed so many back wages. Those in the states who are losing out to H1B's would better be able to make the case that their are Americans who can do the job. Those that do come over could avoid being turned into virtual slaves, I have met far too many H1B's who were worked 80 hours a week for wages less than half what an American would take. They would do it too, whether it was because their passport was confiscated or because such wages were still that much better than what they made at home.

  • by beadfulthings ( 975812 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @09:22PM (#31891682) Journal

    This is fascinating in light of the recent lawsuit [] filed and won in Louisiana on behalf of a group of teachers from the Philippines who were brought here to teach and virtually held hostage by the agency that recruited them. (They won their lawsuit a few days ago--can't recall the more recent source.) Their visas were held by the recruiter as they were squeezed for ever-increasing fees, forced to rent substandard housing at exorbitant rates, and otherwise abused.

    It's especially fascinating to me that in these recessionary times when recent American college graduates can't find work, we have to import elementary and high school teachers and people with the most basic IT skills so that they can be held in indentured servitude and squeezed for more and more money. I guess human trafficking is no longer limited to unskilled workers.

    • by Renraku ( 518261 )

      Let's just say that they aren't being imported because there's a high demand for foreign work. They don't have skills that American workers don't have.

      Why are we importing them, then?

      Because we can treat them like slaves because most of them are ignorant to the laws in the USA. They see it as a land of opportunity and are willing to work for less than decent wages to get their feet in the proverbial door. No one usually tells them that they'll have ever-increasing debt the likes of which we haven't seen

  • It would not only be a fun and refreshing change from "normal" work, it would create so many new networking opportunities. Think of all the great and influential people you would meet!
  • Twenty years is not enough and I hope they sweep up the entire company!

  • Stock Options (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaveAtFraud ( 460127 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @10:44PM (#31892096) Homepage Journal

    The idiots from the IT outsourcing firm should have done it the "dot com" way. Under pay him by the same amount but promise him lots of stock options with absurd vesting requirements. Too bad if the the stock options go under water and then disappear through a corporate buyout.

    You may have better odds striking it rich in Vegas or by playing the lottery but stock options in lieu of salary are legal.


  • by stimpleton ( 732392 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @10:49PM (#31892128)
    "We smack this IT geek around a little, take him for a nice car ride, threaten to 'take care of him' if he doesn't recant his story, give him 5 G's for his trouble, and badda boom, badda bing, case dismissed."

    We offered him a rig with DUAL SLI ATI Radeon 5970s and an i7 Extreme CPU with liquid cooling. Badda boom, badda bing, case dismissed
  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) * on Sunday April 18, 2010 @11:08PM (#31892272) Homepage

    There is no shortage of citizens that are capable of doing the job - they just have the problem of being a US citizen.

    Cancel the program and make it impossible to ignore the citizen until there is a real problem (long-term & short-term unemployment under 2%). Make it so that permatemping/temporary work does not count towards that 2%. Then reinstate with a sufficient amount of people(whom are paid a wage that discourages bribery) to enforce that law.

    When you hear "shortage" used to describe the amount of citizens in a needed part of the private sector(whether it is IT or most non-temporary forms of employment in the US), the source is lying through their teeth.

    • by shis-ka-bob ( 595298 ) on Monday April 19, 2010 @11:42AM (#31896880)
      They are not lying so much as using the word in a new way. There really is a shortage of programmers willing to work at WalMart salaries.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sjames ( 1099 )

      Funny thing too, at one time a "shortage" of qualified people was a reason for businesses to contribute back to society by providing training and scholarship programs to get the people they needed. This, in turn, encouraged loyalty in both directions and so, long term employment. IF the H1B program is permitted to continue at all, the constraints should be expanded so that not only must the employer show that there are no qualified citizens or green card employees available but that there are none who could

  • by NicknamesAreStupid ( 1040118 ) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @11:22PM (#31892366)
    That is what we said about slavery for over 100 years.
  • by Kream ( 78601 ) <> on Sunday April 18, 2010 @11:53PM (#31892520)

    Who supposedly support the free and lubricated market when it comes to the free movement of capital across the globe can be so protectionist when it comes to labour. By the tenets of capitalism, a Bangladeshi man should be able to move to New Jersey without let or hindrance and put X plumbers and handymen out of business. How come the proponents of capitalism can consider with glee another country's protected industries and financial markets falling to the inexorable march while at the same time, oddly, not sharing the glee of, say, a Sri Lankan chicken farmer at the thought of selling Americans chicken for 0.50$ / lb, retail?

    Capitalist? Ha

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday April 19, 2010 @12:32AM (#31892726) Homepage

    It's good to see the Department of Labor putting some teeth into labor law again. During the Bush years, too many regulatory agencies were out to lunch. The SEC, of course, we know about. Less well known was the attitude at the Labor Department. Now they're catching crooks again.

    Also, Obama just made two recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB was down to two members, and couldn't do anything. Now the NLRB is back in business. It's going to be easier to unionize.

    US wage and hour law, as enacted by Congress decades ago, is quite pro-labor. It's the enforcement that's been weak. Looks like that's changing.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Monday April 19, 2010 @07:35AM (#31894316)

    Another examle:

    Vision Systems Group Indicted for H1B Visa Fraud []

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky