Garland ISD's Former HR Director Exploited H1-B Visa Program for Cash, Trips to Philippines, Investigators Say

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Attorneys outline their investigation into Garland ISD's H1-B visa program.
Until now, there have been only vague hints of improprieties in Garland ISD's H1-B visa program. There was an investigation serious enough to call in the feds, possibly involving foreign teachers paying fees they shouldn't have had to pay, and a bunch of teachers' visas were set to expire.

Today, Garland ISD cleared the air with a press conference detailing the findings of an outside investigation into the program. To quickly summarize: It's all the HR guy's fault.

See also: The Feds' Investigation Into Garland ISD's Visa Problems Could Cost the District Serious Cash

Victor Leos is the guy's name, and he served as Garland ISD's HR director for years before retiring in January. Over the past decade, he exploited the district's H1-B program to funnel cash into his and his family's pocket, according to the investigation, which was conducted by the law firm Littler Mendelson.

H1-B visas allow U.S. companies and universities to recruit highly skilled foreign workers from abroad to fill jobs that are hard to fill with Americans. School districts have used the program to find bilingual teachers. Federal law mandates that the employer has to pay all costs for obtaining the visa.

That's not what was happening at Garland ISD. Leos, according to the investigation, would go recruit teachers himself, generally in the Philippines, even though there are virtually no native Spanish speakers there. Sometimes, per NBC 5, he would hire 30 at a time.

Leos charged new teachers an orientation fee, which he kept. He further exploited the foreign teachers' eagerness to come to the U.S. by making them sign a one-year lease with stepson Paul Ruediger, a Garland ISD teacher (he's on leave) who has a rental home on Preston Trail in Garland, investigators say.

From their, H1-B issues were handled by the Yu Law Firm, where Leos' stepdaughter works. Garland ISD has since cut ties with the firm.

The district said at the press conference it has already paid $250,000 to reimburse improperly recruited teachers and will likely have to spend another $500,000.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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30 comments
debcul8r
debcul8r

It's so difficult for me to believe Mr. Leos could do this.  He was such a good principal long ago.  I always had so much respect for him when I worked with him.  This is definitely not the Mr. Leos I remember.  So sad that our wonderful bilingual teachers may get deported for the crime of another.  GISD step up and help these great teachers to remain.  And the part of getting the teachers from the Phillipines?  I'm not so sure about that.  The majority of teachers I know, and some are in the fight, are from South America. I hope something positive comes out of these mishaps. 

lebowski300
lebowski300

This is how H1-B works. Top to bottom, left to right, every industry. It's a scam. It is only a matter of who in the corporate structure profits more than others.


holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

There's a clue in the above photo.

Look at the I in GISD.

Could be Mr. Schutze's alter ego.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

With the unemployment rates that we, I do not see how any one can say with a straight face that there are no US citizens are available to fill the positions.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

In this press conference, they were strangely silent about Superintendent Gary Reeves involvement in the crimes - even though they fired him for his role.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

When I was out in Presidio, the ISD kept their Filipino teachers in low income housing (about 30).  It's like this all across the U.S. now.  And it's not confined to teachers.  Nurses, IT obviously.  

This is what a systemic failure looks like.

wcvemail
wcvemail

What a cunning reversal of the Filipina-mail-order-bride scam. And he apparently didn't have to recycle some old pinup picture, either.

James080
James080 topcommenter

Even if he's found guilty of exploiting his government position for personal gain, he'll get to keep his TRS pension.  It's time to change that dynamic.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@debcul8r

Next time you find yourself working for a religious conservative, remember how easily you were fooled - and be a little more observant.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul

You're right.  This wasn't about finding qualified teachers.  We *do* have plenty here in Texas.  They're just not the kind of teachers that Evangelical Republicans want. 

The two men at the head of this scandal, Dr. Reeves and Victor Leos, are very active in Garland's Evangelical Republican community.  Those people often complain that teachers are too liberal, and that Christian values aren't taught in the classroom.
Unable to find such people domestically, they sought them out in the Christianista communities overseas.  They also hoped that the immigrants would become citizens and ally themselves with the Republican party.

This was about turning Dallas County "red".

LovingPerson
LovingPerson

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  Good point, you should go teach a bilingual class. What's that? You don't have ability to? yeah neither does any of the unemployed (straight face). It takes a lot work and a lot of time to learn how to speak another language so fluently that you can teach with it. You're some kind of stupid.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@holmantx  
What shame for this country. How can we morally prosecute the rich Arabs who mistreat their servants. Indentured servitude is alive in the 21st century.

Presidio, home to so many kids in need of Tagalog-speaking teachers, and all the way across the Rio Grande from Mexico. 

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

@James080  Did you post this essentially word for word on the Plano ISD guy's article? It seems awfully familiar.

Rumpunch1
Rumpunch1

I don't think Royce would be involved. He only gets involved in criminal cases he is already involved in as possibly an undiscovered co-conspirator. Or at the very least helping a guy out who might have shit on him on another deal (ie Hutchins mayor)

debcul8r
debcul8r

@bvckvs @debcul8r bvckvs: I have no problem working for those who are religious or conservative.  I was not fooled.  This man came to my rescue when I was afraid a parent was about to hit me. He helped me with a problem for one of my children.  I don't know what changed for him, but I am still an American and believe in justice and innocent until proven guilty.  How can you presume all of this and not even know the man?  How can you condemn others by what is written by the media?  Regardless, if he is guilty or not, I will always be thankful to Mr. Leos for what he did for me and the kindness he showed me and my kids.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@LovingPerson This wasn't about finding bilingual teachers.  We have plenty of bilingual college graduates right here in Dallas, and UT Arlington cranks out more and more every year.  The problem is that they don't support Republican values; they're too liberal and agnostic.

This was about finding teachers who are religious conservatives.

ryan762
ryan762

@James080 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaulI doubt that's true. There are always many applicants for each open teaching job at my wife's school. And I have a handful of acquaintances who got their alternative certification, applied to GISD and were not hired.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@James080 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul 

James080, the way the H1B scam works is that a very narrowly tailored job description is written so that the only one who meets the job requirements is the H1B applicant.  Look in the DMN classifieds in the spring for the openings in the Engineering/Technical listing for the adverts that are about 20 column inches.  Essentially those adverts are used to show that there is no qualified US citizen.


Also, the salary offered is not supposed to come into consideration, just whether or not there are qualified US citizens.  If the Us citizens are available, then the H1B is not supposed to issued.  Instead the employer is supposed to raise the salary offering.


The H1B is not about the wage at which workers are available, but whether or not qualified US workers are available.


I have had to compete against H1B applicants and it is very frustrating.

James080
James080 topcommenter

@alteredjustice @James080 

I did. I'll probably keep posting this until it gains support and something passes into law. When a governmental employee uses his or her office to rip off taxpayers, I don't see any reason why taxpayers should be required to fund his or her pension payments. Why not dedicate that money to restitution instead?

debcul8r
debcul8r

@bvckvs @debcul8r You didn't know the man before this story came out.  I did.  There is good in this man.  He "may" have done a horrible "wrong", but he has done some good in his past as well.  You seem to have a lot of anger towards the religious and conservatives.  Maybe you should check your own 'backyard' before you start trashing someone elses.  I "pray", YES, I said pray that you look for good in people and let the law take care of the bad in people.  I also pray that you can find peace and acceptance of others different than you or those with different opinions than you.  God Bless you and grant you peace and comfort.  <3

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@debcul8r @bvckvs

Yes, you were fooled.  You thought he was a good man, but it turns out that he's just another corrupt, religious conservative.

What's really weird is that even as the details of his crimes come out, you still praise him as a good man.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@bvckvs  From the Philippines?  Do you ever actually think before you spew shit out onto the interwebs?

ryan762
ryan762

@James080 @alteredjusticeWhat about a public official who railroads an innocent man into jail in order to protect a serial killer who goes on to kill again? Should he keep his pension? Legislature says yes.

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