On April 26, 2010, ICE reported that it has charged two managers of staffing companies in the Chicago area with criminal violations including the hiring of undocumented workers, failing to report wages, and failing to withhold federal taxes from wages. If convicted of unlawfully hiring undocumented workers, the managers can face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, the indictment also seeks forfeiture of over $480,000 which was seized from various bank accounts belonging to the companies.
The staffing companies involved in the indictment provided temporary labor to manufacturing facilities in the Chicago area. The managers who were indicted directed low level supervisory employees to transport undocumented workers back and forth between locations and to worksites in the suburbs around Chicago. In addition, they provided false Social Security numbers to the manufacturing sites where their laborers were temporarily employed.
The violations of law in this instance, while extremely flagrant, are not uncommon. All employers are reminded that they are required to complete I 9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms within three days of hire for every employee. Failure to complete the form, or failure to complete it properly can lead to civil and criminal penalties for employers. Employers are further reminded that a comprehensive immigration compliance program goes a long way to ensuring that all employees are properly verified for employment authorization, and it shows good faith to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency should an audit or enforcement action ever be undertaken against the employer.