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Whistleblower to get $8 mn for blowing the lid off Infosys

Last updated on: October 31, 2013 16:27 IST

Whistleblower to get $8 mn for blowing the lid off Infosys

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Yoshita Singh in New York

A former American employee of Infosys, who had brought a whistleblower lawsuit against the IT giant, could receive between $5-8 million of the total $34 million that the Indian company will pay to settle visa fraud allegations.

In one of the largest settlements in an immigration fraud case, Bangalore-based Infosys has agreed to pay the amount to resolve claims made by federal prosecutors in Texas.

The payment by Infosys would be made within the next 30 days and include $5 million to Homeland Security Investigations for civil or administrative forfeiture, a similar amount to the Department of State and $24 million to the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Whistleblower to get $8 mn for blowing the lid off Infosys

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Jack Palmer, who had worked at Infosys, brought the whistle-blower lawsuit in Alabama in February 2011, saying that he had been punished and sidelined by company executives after he reported witnessing widespread visa fraud.

His lawsuit was dismissed last year by a federal judge but it spurred the federal investigation into Infosys' visa procedures.

John Bales, the US attorney for the district of Texas, said in a news conference in Plano on Wednesday that Palmer will be "amply and justly rewarded."

Palmer would get a small pie of the settlement amount that Infosys will have to cough up.

Authorities, however, refused to divulge the exact amount that Palmer would get, saying that it will be a "slightly complicated calculation about how the funds are apportioned."

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Photographs: Reuters

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"It would be safe to say that Palmer can receive no more than 25 per cent of the portion of the settlement amount that is attributable to his whistleblowing," Attorney-in-Charge at the US Attorney's Plano Office, Deputy Criminal Chief Shamoil Shipchandler told PTI in an email.

Palmer could receive as much as $5 million and up to $8 million. Bales said the compensation to Palmer would be made under the False Claims Act, adding that the government had done a lot of the work during its two and a half year investigation into the case.

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Photographs: Reuters

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This would be kept in mind while calculating Palmer's share, he said. Earlier, a New York Times report had quoted Palmer as saying that the entire visa fraud investigation had taken a "personal toll" on him but "it would have been much worse in the long run if I had turned the other cheek."

"It was a question of right and wrong, following my conscience and following the law."

Palmer had first reported that Infosys was writing false invitation letters for B-1 visas for Indian employees, because he was asked to write one and he refused.

Palmer said he had turned down an early settlement offer from Infosys, because it would not have allowed him to continue cooperating with federal investigators.

"They wanted to buy my silence, and I wouldn’t do it," he said. "I never did it for the money. I did it because they were violating the law." 


Photographs: Reuters

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