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ICE Fines Massachusetts Companies Hiring Unlawful Employees

November 16, 2012

Form I-9 compliance has been one of the most critical aspects of hiring process in the United States.  Depending on the magnitude of offenses, there could be civil/monetary and/or criminal penalties associated with Form I-9 violations.   Employers must ensure full compliance with respect to Form I-9 at all times.

Following an investigation and audit of Form I-9 documents by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, 17 Massachusetts employers were fined a total of $349,619.54 in fiscal year (FY) 2012 for various employment violations. The inspection of the employers’ documents is part of HSI’s worksite enforcement strategy that launched in 2009 to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce. This strategy focuses agency resources on the investigation and audit of employers suspected of cultivating illegal workplaces by hiring workers who are not authorized to work.

Employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual they hire. This form requires employers to review and record the individual’s identity and employment eligibility document(s) and determine whether the document(s) reasonably appears to be genuine and related to the individual. Additionally, an employer must ensure that the employee provides certain information regarding his or her eligibility to work, on the Form I-9.  Fines in Massachusetts in FY 2012 include:

  1. Alliance for Affordable Housing Inc. of Everett was fined $888.25;
  2. Amex Inc. of East Boston was fined $70,000;
  3. Bread & Company Inc. of Everett was fined $9,804;
  4. Cap Seafood Inc. of New Bedford was fined $9,804;
  5. Danco Retail Food Outlet Inc. of Worcester was fined $935;
  6. Fruitlands Restaurant, Inc., aka Sorrento’s Pizza, of Harvard was fined $2,805;
  7. Jae’s Spice of Pittsfield was fined $3,000;
  8. Leechen Restaurant Inc. of Lawrence was fined $9,441.63;
  9. Metropolitan Linen Services Corp. of Everett was fined $13,635.19;
  10. Northern Pelagic Group LLC (NORPEL) of New Bedford was fined $151,200;
  11. Ocean Crest Seafoods of Gloucester was fined $9,000;
  12. Panda House Inc. of Westfield was fined $4,675;
  13. Pier Fish Company Inc. of New Bedford was fined $2,200;
  14. Quality Workforce Inc. of Brockton was fined $26,881.25;
  15. Samar Company Inc. of Stoughton was fined $33,786.22;
  16. Sampco Inc. of Pittsfield was fined $550; and
  17. STAT Products Inc. of Ashland was fined $1,014.

“These settlements serve as a reminder to employers that HSI will continue to hold them accountable for hiring and maintaining a legal and compliant workforce,” said Bruce M . Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. “We encourage employers to take the employment verification process seriously, as we expand the number of audits we are conducting throughout Massachusetts each year. My agency will continue to focus its attention on employers that are knowingly employing illegal workers and will continue to target specific industries and businesses known or alleged to hire illegals.”

You may download the latest version of Form I-9 at the following link: http://1.usa.gov/sCDS 

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