- Infosys paid a $34 million fine to the US government for H1-B fraud.
- To whom did this fine go?
The H1-B program has been rife with fraud since its inception. Infosys paid the largest fine in the H1-B’s history. However, it is interesting where this fine went.
Keeping Up With the Visa Exploitation
The $34 million civil settlement, US Attorney John Bales noted, “represented the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case.” Bales declared: “The H1-B and B-1 visa programs are designed and intended to protect the American worker; and we will vigorously enforce the requirements of those programs.” Of the $34 million, $24 million went to the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Texas, $5 million went to the State Department for civil and administrative forfeiture, and $5 million went to the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations office. Palmer (the whistleblower) received an undisclosed portion of the recovered damages as a result of the False Claims Act, which awards whistleblowers in successful cases. – Sold Out
Did the US Government Accept a Payoff from Infosys?
This following quotation makes it seem as if the only thing the feds cared about was getting money out of Infosys.
The investigation also showed that more than 80 percent of Infosys’s I-9 forms for 2010 and 2011 contained substantive violations. Despite finding “systemic visa fraud and abuse,” the feds dropped civil and criminal charges against the company in exchange for the settlement money and admission of paperwork violations. The feds also agree not to use any of the evidence it uncovered in its investigations to revoke any visas fraudulently obtained by Infosys workers; not debar or suspend Infosys from any B-1 or H1-B program; and not make any referrals to any agencies for debarment or suspension of Infosys from visa programs. – Sold Out
Taxpayers fund the law enforcement entities in the US — they are not supposed to go “fishing for dollars,” and exchange or trade things for money. For example, a citizen is not allowed to buy their way out of criminal charges.
The punishment seemed to have no other restrictions except a one-time payout to various federal entities. Where is the incentive in the future for Infosys to stop this behaviour? Was the federal government unaware that what Infosys was caught doing is simply part of their business model? Why was Infosys entirely barred from receiving H1-B visas, or at least barred from receiving them for a number of years?
When Infosys and other companies engage in H1-B fraud, US workers pay the price. However, when a settlement is obtained from one of these companies after the company is found to have engaged in egregious fraud, no criminal prosecutions occur, and the payment, which is small potatoes for a firm as large as Infosys. The beneficiary of the funds is not US workers, who deserve restitution for lost wages for behaviour on the part of H1-B fraudsters, but the US government.