Woodinville Drywall Installation Company Sentenced for Immigration Violation
Company Knowingly Hired Unauthorized Aliens
A Woodinville, Washington drywall company and its owner were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to financial penalties and a probationary sentence for repeated violations of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. DJ DRYWALL, INC., and owner DAVID L. JONES, 47, pleaded guilty in February 2016 to knowingly encouraging and inducing a Mexican national to reside in the United States in violation of law. The guilty plea follows three different investigations and two civil fines regarding the company’s practice of illegally hiring undocumented workers.
“This employer repeatedly hired an illegal workforce as though the rules did not apply to him,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “Allowing some businesses to ignore hiring rules creates an uneven playing field for all. These prosecutions are aimed at stopping this conduct and eliminating conditions for workers that are often unsafe and unsound.”
According to records filed in the case, DAVID L. JONES has a long work history in the drywall industry. He incorporated DJ DRYWALL in 2006 and is the company president and sole stockholder. In both 2008 and 2011, DJ DRYWALL was audited by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and paid fines for violating immigration rules related to I-9’s -- a form required for employment. Due to the violations in 2008, DJ DRYWALL paid a $32,316 fine. Following a second audit in 2011, the company paid $27,405 for knowingly hiring 21 unauthorized aliens. A third investigation in 2013 again revealed a pattern of hiring unauthorized workers and paying them ‘off the books,’ or encouraging them to submit false I-9 documents or green cards.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, DAVID L. JONES forfeited $25,000 to the United States today at the sentencing hearing. JONES will be on two years of probation. The company will be on probation for five years and will pay a $75,000 fine over the next five years. While on probation JONES will be required to qualify all his employees through the E-Verify internet system.
“ICE is committed to holding businesses accountable when they knowingly hire an illegal workforce,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge for ICE HSI in Seattle. “Employers who willfully violate our nation’s hiring laws gain an unfair economic advantage over their law abiding competitors. Our goal is to protect job opportunities for the nation’s legal workers and level the playing field for those businesses that play by the rules.”
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) and was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Don Reno. Mr. Reno is an attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement specially designated to prosecute immigration crimes in federal court.