Former Philadelphia City Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Naturalization Fraud and Failure to File Taxes Charges
Asplundh Tree Expert, Co., one of the largest privately-held companies in the United States, was charged today by Information with one count of unlawfully employing aliens, in connection with a scheme in which Asplundh accepted and received identification documents knowing those documents to be procured by fraud and illegally obtained, announced acting United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen. Asplundh, headquartered in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, is an industry leader in tree trimming and brush clearance for power and gas lines. The information alleges that in or about 2010 to on or about December 2014, Asplundh managers, including a Vice-President and Sponsor, directed their personnel to accept false identification from prospective employees. The acceptance of these false documents facilitated the re-hiring of Asplundh employees who had been determined previously by Homeland Security Investigations to be aliens unauthorized to work in the United States.
Asplundh supervisors accepted identification documents, such as legal permanent resident cards (green cards), Social Security Cards, and drivers’ licenses as evidence of authorized status or employment in the United States, knowing that those identification documents were illegitimate. This facilitated the hiring and rehiring of workers that were not eligible to be employed in the United States. Asplundh management delegated the recruitment and hiring of employees to lower level supervisors and decentralized its hiring practices in order to facilitate the hiring of these ineligible workers.
Three individual Asplundh supervisors, including a Vice-President, have already entered pleas of guilty to felony counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and misuse visas and fraud and misuse of visas in connection with this case.
If convicted the defendant faces a maximum sentence of not more than five years’ probation, a fine, with a maximum of $3,000 for each unauthorized alien with respect to whom such violation occurs, and any applicable forfeiture.
The case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Josh A. Davison and Assistant United States Attorney L.C. Wright.
An Indictment or Information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.