Monday, December 16, 2013

Diplomat From India Charged With Visa Fraud And Lying

Devyani Khobragade

Khobragade is facing up to 15 years in a federal prison, if convicted for visa fraud and making false statements.

By H. Nelson Goodson
December 16, 2013

New York, New York - Last Thursday,  Devyani Khobragade, 39, of Mumbai, India's acting consul general and deputy consul general for political, economic, commercial and women's affairs at the New York Indian Consulate General was charged with two federal felony counts for visa fraud and making false statements. She was taken into custody by feds while she dropped her child at a school. She has two young girls.
Khobragade posted a $250,000 bail after pleading not guilty in court on Thursday and had to surrender all her travel documents. If convicted, Khobragade is facing up to 15 years in a federal prison. She is due back in court next month.
Khobragade's lawyer attempted to use diplomatic immunity,  but the U.S. denied the claim and says, visa fraud is not covered under the Vienna convention.
Khobragade allegedly made false statements when she applied for a visa for a house worker who was a babysitter. The criminal complaint states, Khobragade paid her babysitter $3.31 an hour and worked more than 40 hours per week. She claimed in the visa application, which she helped the worker fill out and to falsify, that she paid the domestic worker from India 4,500 per month. Authorities say, another document used as a contract between Khobragade and the worker showed that she actually paid her $3,927 less per month than what was reported on the visa application. She actually paid the domestic worker $500 per month, far less than the NY minimum wage of $9.75.
Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern Dristrict of New York says, that domestic workers brought to work in the U.S. from foreign countries deserve the same wage as other American workers are guarantee to get.
Federal prosecutors say, both her husband and the doemstic worker involved are expected to testify against Khobragade.
Khobragade is known for advocating for women's rights, but the federal criminal charges has embarrassed the diplomat. 

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