Large-Scale Visa Fraud Alleged at Infosys

HAYNEVILLE, Ala. (CN) – Infosys, which employs more than 15,000 foreign workers in the United States, systematically commits visa fraud and tax fraud to increase profits, and threatened and retaliated against a “principal consultant” who called them on it, the man claims in Lowndes County Court. On its Web page, Infosys describes itself as specializing in business consulting and strategic IT services outsourcing, with 2010 revenue of $5.7 billion, and 127,779 employees.




     In his complaint, Jack Palmer says he worked for Infosys “as a Principal – Enterprise Solutions” since August 2008.
     Many of Infosys’ 15,000 foreign nationals who work in the United States do so on H-1B visas, Palmer says: “Infosys is an H-1B dependent corporation and is one of the biggest ‘users’ of the H-1B program.”
     After the federal government restricted the H-1B program, in 2009, Palmer says, he was sent to Bangalore, India, for “planning meetings.”
     “During one of the meetings, Infosys management, discussed the need to, and ways to, ‘creatively’ get around the H-1B limitations and process and to work the system in order to increase profits and the value of Infosys’ stock. The decision was made by management to start using the B-1 visa program to get around the H-1B restrictions.
     “Under the law, the B-1 visa category applies to temporary business visitors who come to the United States to conduct activities of a commercial or professional nature, such as consulting with business associates, negotiating a contract, or attending business conferences. Individuals on B-1 visas are prohibited by law from working in full time jobs in the United States.
     “During the course of his employment, plaintiff learned the Infosys was sending lower level and unskilled foreigners to the United States to work in full-time positions at Infosys’ customer sites in direct violation of immigration laws. Plaintiff also learned that Infosys was paying these employees in India for full-time work in the United States without withholding federal or state income taxes. Plaintiff also learned that Infosys overbilled its customers for the labor costs of these employees.
     “In order for a foreign Infosys employee to obtain a B-1 visa, an American employee of Infosys had to write a ‘welcome letter,’ basically stating that the employee was coming to the United States for meetings rather than to work at a job.”
     Palmer says that Infosys managers in the United States and India asked him to write false welcome letters, and he refused. On July 1, 2010, he says, he “was asked to join a conference call in regards to his refusal to write the ‘welcome letters,’ during which call plaintiff was chastised for not being a ‘team player.'”
     Then he was transferred to another project in a different division, Palmer says. There, he says, he “soon learned that Infosys was illegally employing B-1 visa holders on that project as well.” Infosys asked him to rewrite the contract for that project, and he refused, “because he knew that the purpose was to try to cover up Infosys’ overcharging this customer by using the lower-income B-1 employees and charging the higher pay rate for specialized employees,” according to the complaint.
     Palmer says he called Infosys corporate counsel, Jeff Friedel, and explained the violations to him. Friedel is not named as a party to this lawsuit.
     In September 2010, Palmer says, an Infosys manager from India “confirmed the violations, but stressed to the plaintiff that it was important to ‘keep this quiet.'”
     Palmer says he got “further pressure, harassment and retaliation for refusing to be a part of the illegal conduct.”
     At Friedel’s urging, he says, he filed a report with Infosys’ “Whistleblower Team,” on Oct. 11, 2010. But the whistleblower team “failed and refused to promptly investigate plaintiff’s report and still refuses to thoroughly and fairly investigate and correct the illegal conduct,” Palmer says.
     Since filing his report, he says, he has been “subjected to constant harassment, threats, and retaliation” including “numerous threatening phone calls;” monitoring of his emails; “racial taunts or slurs, including being called ‘a stupid America’ and criticized for being a Christian;” refusal to pay his bonuses; refusal to “reimburse him for customary and substantial expenses;” and being forced to work more than 70 hours a week “without appropriate compensation.”
     Palmer says he reported to Friedel that Infosys was breaking other laws, including “failure to pay federal and state income taxes; falsification of I-9 forms; and the fraudulent and illegal documentation of aliens.” And he claims that Friedel “admitted by electronic mail and via phone calls that Infosys was and is guilty of visa fraud.”
     Palmer says he repeatedly reports the “threats and retaliations” to Infosys human relations department and to corporate counsel, and they refused to do anything about it.
     He seeks punitive damages for breach of contract, expenses, intentional infliction of emotional distress, outrage, negligence and wanton misconduct, and legal misrepresentation and fraud. He is represented by Kenneth Mendelsohn of Montgomery.

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