After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General in Chicago, the president and office manager of two Bensenville, Illinois, temporary staffing companies were charged with unlawfully hiring dozens of illegal aliens to form their labor pool. Each was charged with one count of unlawfully hiring illegal aliens between October 2006 and October 2007. The charges also seek forfeiture of $488,095, which was seized from various bank accounts as well as the Bensenville office. Additionally, the defendants allegedly paid their workers’ wages in cash and failed to deduct payroll taxes or other withholdings. According to the allegations, they repeatedly withdrew funds in the amount of $9,800 from bank accounts to pay their employee’s wages in cash, believing that withdrawing amounts less than $10,000 would avoid triggering the banks’ currency transaction reporting requirements. If convicted, unlawfully hiring illegal aliens carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
It has become apparent that ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce. Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge for ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago provided, “Employers in all industries and locations must comply with the nation’s immigration laws if we are to have an effective immigration enforcement strategy in this county.”
The MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.