Finding H-2B Violators

While many applications are legitimate, and criminal prosecutions for H-2B violations are rare, abuse of the program is common. Employers ask for more workers than they need, or they ask for workers for longer periods of time than the standard seasonal time period. Because employers aren’t responsible for housing costs, H-2B visas cost employers less, unlike the H-2A program. Because of this, fraud and abuse of the H-2B visa program has become more prevalent.

Savanna’s collaborative workspace and unique, model-based approach are ideal for analyzing complex problems like visa fraud. Savanna’s dynamic, all-source analysis environment gives analysts the ability to investigate a flagged H-2B application, gather research about the sponsor company’s history and involvement in a previous visa fraud investigation, and uncover evidence and participants involved in a larger visa fraud situation.

Savanna Takes on H-2B Visa Fraud

A team of analysts is tasked with investigating flagged pending H-2B Visa applications and connections to a suspicious sponsor employer, LA Fishing and Shrimping. First, they use Savanna’s powerful Search tool to find relevant content through a targeted tag search of “recommendation engine” and “seasonal work visa” tagged content. The results revealed two Analyst’s Notebook® Charts, which they add to their Visa Fraud Space.

1: Frame the Problem

The analysts use Crumbnet, Savanna’s mind mapping tool, to gain a better understanding of their existing knowledge. They outline the participants and connections between the flagged applicants and the sponsor company, LA Fishing and Shrimping, and add information collected from Search as supporting evidence to corresponding nodes.

2: Build the Knowledge Network

With Savanna’s dynamic Occurrence dossiers, the analysts collaboratively populate an information network about the flagged applicants. Occurrences are building blocks that capture people, organizations, things, places and events related to a problem. In this case, the analysts make Person Occurrences for the two flagged H-2B applicants. Under its Relationships section, they add the flagged addresses listed on each application, discovering that another team member has already recorded the address in Savanna.

Visa Fraud Map
Visa Fraud Occurrence

3: Visualize Data to Find Meaning

Using this information, they create a Map to confirm their suspicions that the home addresses of the two flagged applicants are located in the same city. They simply drag and drop a Grid file (uploaded CSV) containing the the addresses of the flagged applicants onto the Map, visually indicating that these two applicants are indeed from the same city, within walking distance from each other. They take a screenshot to be used later in the analysis, which is automatically saved to the Space they’re working in.

In Timeline, the analysts drop multiple Occurrences, such as the Occurrences for suspicious sponsor organizations, onto a visual span of time to draw connections between events within each Occurrence. Visualizing event times from multiple Person and Organization Occurrences side-by-side gives the analysts the opportunity to see that a similar event, Investigation for VCN, is shared between Rodriguez and two organizations. They can use the Selection panel in the Details sidebar to read more about this event. The Selection panel also provides a link to view the event in more detail as an Occurrence.

Then, they use Linknet to create a link chart visualizing all connections to the suspicious sponsor company, LA Fishing and Shrimping, using an uploaded CSV file listing all suspicious visa fraud activity. They view selected nodes in detail and expand relationships to discover and identify any outliers. After defining the entities and relationships they wish to view, it becomes apparent that LA Fishing and Shrimping shares a telephone number with Mariah Jade Shrimping and Cajun Coast Fishing, implicating all three companies in this evolving visa fraud issue.

With Graphic, they can customize Grid (CSV) data to visualize the flagged H-2B applicants as a bar chart. In the Layers panel, they can customize the Graphic by assigning different colors to the categories within a data series and choosing the number of categories they wish to display. They take a screenshot to be used later in a Production.

4: Discover New Information

At this point, the team wants to know more about the sponsor company, LA Fishing and Shrimping, LLC. Using Savanna’s powerful Search tool, they are able to quickly find relevant content, including previously built Occurrences for LA Fishing and Shrimping and for Juan Rodriguez, an employee of LA Fishing and Shrimping. The Occurrences reveal connections to a Sinaloa Cartel member, Diego Morales, as well as a previous Visa Fraud investigations for Mariah Jade Shrimping Company and Cajun Coast Fishing. They add all Occurrences to their Space and save the search so that they will be alerted to new content created or uploaded with indexed mentions of these companies.

5: Place Evidence in Context

The analysts revisit the Crumbnet outlining the suspicious Visa applications and add discoveries and evidence collected throughout their analysis. From the Space Content panel, they add the H-2B Flagged Applicants Map and Suspicious Sponsor Linknet as supporting evidence to a node. The Crumbnet now acts as a final summary of the analysis and is shared with team members and exported to PDF to send to fellow analysts and decision-makers for further action.

The Result

Now, with the supporting evidence they have created and gathered, they’re ready to compile their findings in a report in Savanna’s Production tool. Productions are reports that help the analysts tell a compelling, fully sourced story about their findings, complete with the content that they’ve gathered and created in Savanna. In Production, the analysts can capture relevant content from multiple sources, such as the Map image showing the close proximity of the two suspicious applicants. They also add links to the collaborative knowledge network, such as the Occurrences for LA Fishing and Shrimping, Cajun Coast Fishing and Mariah Jade Shrimping. When the Production is complete, they can export it or share it with Savanna team members and decision-makers for further action.

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