A suburban Philadelphia tree-trimming company will pay a record fine after pleading guilty in a scheme to employ thousands of people in the country illegally. Asplundh Tree Expert Company, a utility contractor known for pruning and removing trees around power lines based in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on Sept. 28 to a federal criminal charge and was ordered to pay a total of $95 million. Prosecutors called it the largest monetary penalty ever levied in an immigration case, according to Associated Press news.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia said Asplundh employed thousands of unauthorized workers between 2010 and 2014, and its top management remaining “willfully blind” while lower-level supervisors hired people they knew were in the country illegally. In some cases, the supervisors rehired workers who had already been let go by the company due to their immigration status.
Asplundh is a 90-year-old, family-owned company that employs 30,000 workers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The company, which holds many municipal, state and federal contracts, said it has reformed its hiring practices.
Read the full story from the Associated Press news here.