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Information Technology Firm Pays $1 Million to Settle Allegations of Visa Fraud

12 Apr

DALLAS—Sistemas Globales S.A., an Argentine information technology and consulting firm, has agreed to a civil settlement of allegations that it and its corporate affiliates, including U.S. affiliate Globant LLC (collectively “Globant”), violated the False Claims Act and the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, announced U.S. Attorney John R. Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

The settlement relates to Globant’s use of B-1 visas for certain of its foreign national employees. Foreign nationals admitted to the United States on a B-1 visa are permitted to engage in certain short-term business activities like negotiating contracts, consulting with business associates, or attending conventions or conferences. However, a B-1 visa is not proper for foreign nationals who are seeking to perform skilled or unskilled labor in the United States. Companies wishing to employ foreign nationals in the United States must seek proper work visas for their employees, at a higher cost and with additional requirements to protect U.S. workers.

With respect to Globant, the United States contended that Globant caused certain of its foreign-national employees to apply for and obtain B-1 visas to travel into the United States for the stated purpose of “training” or “knowledge transfer,” but that the true purpose of travel was to perform information technology work in the United States that was not permissible on a B-1 visa. The United States further contended that the Globant employees would not have met the requirements for the issuance of B-1 visas if the true facts regarding their intended activities had been disclosed. Globant agreed to pay $1 million to settle the matter. Globant denies the United States’ allegations and fully cooperated with the investigation and, by settling, did not admit any wrongdoing or liability.

The investigation was initiated after U.S. Department of State consular officials in Argentina reported unusual visa application activity by Globant employees in that country. The matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian W. Stoltz. The U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service investigated, and attorneys from the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security also participated in the resolution of the matter.