Two companies in Southern California face criminal charges and are accused of knowingly hiring undocumented workers. The owner of Masters in Metal, Inc. and his son, also the company’s vice president, were arrested this week for allegedly continuing to employ individuals who had been identified as unauthorized to work in an I-9 audit conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2007. The complaint specifies that after the audit, the company wrote ICE to confirm that the employees had been terminated. A second investigation showed that two of the undocumented workers continued to work at the company. The defendants could receive a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

Two weeks earlier, a manager at Parker Personnel, Inc. was charged with hiring unauthorized workers and supplying the workers with forged immigration documents. The arrest is the result of ongoing investigations relating to the integrity and security of the import and export of goods in the United States by freight forwarding companies and bond warehouses.

As demonstrated above, companies themselves are not the only ones that face penalties and fines, but the hiring employees, managers, owners, etc. may also face criminal charges for I-9 violations and knowingly hiring undocumented workers. It is crucial for companies to have properly completed I-9s and document retention procedures in place to ensure that liability is kept to a minimum. Masuda Funai specializes in I-9 audit services, assisting employers in identifying potential issues with your existing I-9s, training your staff to ensure that new I-9s are completed correctly and reviewing and creating I-9 procedures that comply with the law.