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Mu Sigma, an Indian data analytics firm based in Chicago, agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle allegations that it committed visa fraud and induced aliens to enter and remain in the U.S. A government investigation revealed the firm had illegally circumvented H-1B visa regulations by actively employing B1 (business visitor) visa holders under contract in the U.S.

The investigation, which was conducted by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), also found that the company’s invitation letters for the B1 visa holders misrepresented the nature of the B1 visitors’ intended business, and that company officials coached B1 business visitors on how to avoid detection.

An investigation was launched in 2013 after a Mu Sigma employee whistleblower told government officials the company was circumventing H-1B visa regulations. About 400 B1 visa holders were illegally working in the United States and being paid in India at India-based wages. And the company’s H-1B employees were instructed to misrepresent to U.S. consular and border officials their intended U.S. employment destination.

“To ensure fairness, U.S. visa and hiring laws are designed to ensure that all companies operate from a level playing field,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge of HSI Dallas. “Like children who get their hands caught in the cookie jar, this joint investigation shows a small sliver of corruption that some companies are capable of if they think no one is looking.”

Jeffrey McGallicher, special agent in charge of the DSS Houston Field Office, said “This case represents the finest efforts of cooperative law enforcement at the federal and state level, along with DSS’ global network of special agents, working together to stop criminals from exploiting U.S. visas, passports, and foreign workers."

Read ICE’s press release.

Updated: Fri, Oct 4th 2019 @ 2:00pm EDT