In a case that should alert Human Resources (HR) Managers to the importance of maintaining Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) compliance, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced the indictment of a former Human Resources Manager for knowingly employing illegal aliens in the company’s workforce. The company itself was not accused of any wrongdoing in the indictment.
The former HR Manager was charged in a 25-count indictment with conspiracy and employee verification (Form I-9) fraud in connection with the employment of illegal aliens at the company’s manufacturing facility. The charges stem from an August 25, 2008 raid by ICE when nearly 600 illegal workers were arrested. It was the largest single-workplace immigration raid in U.S. history.
In the indictment, the HR Manager was charged with conspiring to commit multiple offenses against the United States, including encouraging illegal aliens to reside in the U.S., concealing and harboring illegal aliens, and falsely attesting to the validity of employment-related documents, including the Form I-9, Social Security cards, and alien registration receipt cards.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, the HR Manager was charged with 24 counts of falsely certifying to the employment eligibility of job applicants and employees on the Form I-9. The indictment charges that, on various dates:
He falsely certified, under penalty of perjury, on Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verifications that he had examined the documents listed on the Form I-9 and determined them to be genuine;
He falsely certified, to the best of his knowledge, that the applicants were eligible to work in the United States even after being notified by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that the Social Security numbers of these applicants were not found to be valid.
If convicted, the HR Manager could face a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment on each count. In addition to possible imprisonment, the defendant faces a maximum fine of $250,000.
This case is proof that ICE is aggressively targeting employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing illegal aliens in their workforce in order to take advantage of illegal labor for personal profit. To avoid audits, fines, penalties, and even possible jail time, many employers are turning to third-party software to maintain full Form I-9 compliance with the myriad of employment eligibility verification regulations.
I-9Compliance.com is a Form I-9 compliance service offered by leading pre-employment screening provider Pre-Employ.com that helps employers outsource their Form I-9 and E-Verify needs at minimal cost. A designated E-Verify service provider, I-9Compliance.com reduces risks and liability, virtually eliminates errors, maintains full Form I-9 compliance, and improves the economy by ensuring jobs for legal Americans.