Asplundh Tree Experts of Philadelphia has agreed to pay a fine of $95 million for hiring illegal workers and openly accepting false documents to do so, even after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had audited the company and ordered the workers terminated, many of whom were soon thereafter rehired under different names. The fine includes $80 million of profits made while the illegal workers were on the payroll, plus a $15 million penalty.
Asplundh pleaded guilty this past Thursday, Sept. 28, in federal court to evading the normal human resource verification process and hiring the illegal workers by word of mouth and other extralegal methods.
DHS had begun auditing the company in 2009, but the tree-trimming firm continued its practice of hiring, firing and rehiring the illegals anyway.
“The results of these audits and the names of these employees who were determined to be ineligible to work in the United States were communicated to Asplundh,” court documents say.
The court documents also cite several examples where the same people who had been dismissed after the DHS audit were rehired, but under different names.