WASHINGTON D.C. | A former deputy criminal chief has been recognized by the Secretary of Homeland Security for his work on a precedent-setting work visa case in Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Charles Johnson recognized former Eastern District of Texas federal prosecutor Shamoil T. Shipchandler and his former investigative team at the DHS Secretary’s Award Program on October 21, 2014, in Washington D.C. The recognition, in the form of the Secretary’s Meritorious Service Award (Silver Medal), represents one of the highest awards for service granted by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The award honors exceptional individual leadership or service that is distinguished by achievements of marked significance over time to DHS, and recognizes a body of work characterized by superior performance related to significant accomplishments that significantly improved the effectiveness of DHS. In this case, the award was presented for investigating and bringing to justice an illegal visa fraud operation that resulted in the largest immigration fine to date.
In his prepared remarks to awardees, Secretary Johnson said, “It is no small task – but a great privilege – to select the best of the best for special recognition.”
Shipchandler led a team consisting of HSI Supervisory Special Agent Brian Gray, DHS Special Agent Edward Koranda, DHS Auditor Christina Morales, DHS Attorney Judson Davis, and Department of State Special Agent Timothy Forte, in the investigation and settlement of claims against Infosys Corporation, an Indian company involved in consulting, technology, and outsourcing services. According to court documents, the government alleged instances of Infosys circumventing the requirements, limitations, and governmental oversight of the H-1B visa program by knowingly and unlawfully using B-1 visa holders to perform skilled labor in order to fill positions in the United States for employment that would otherwise be performed by United States citizens or require legitimate H-1B visa holders. The government also alleged that Infosys did so in order to increase profits, minimize costs of securing visas, increase flexibility of employee movement, obtain an unfair advantage over competitors and avoid tax liabilities.
The unique settlement in the case involved the payment by Infosys of $34 million, the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case. The agreement also required additional auditing for I-9 forms; a reporting requirement for B-1 usage; an agreement to continue to use only detailed invitation letters, and the continued use of corporate disciplinary processes for employees that violate the immigration laws of the United States.
“Infosys was a precedent-setting case,” said U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, “and the case was investigated and resolved in a precedent-setting district. Successful prosecutions are based on a team effort, and I am delighted that DHS has singled out the Infosys team for special recognition.”