by Bruce Buchanan, PC

Bascani Logo.jpg

M.D. Basciani and Sons, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation, has pled guilty to harboring undocumented workers at the Red Hill Mushroom Farm in Independence, Louisiana. The corporation was ordered to forfeit over $1 million in illegal proceeds that it obtained as a result of employing the undocumented workers. Additionally, the corporation was placed on three years of probation. The farm’s manager and another of its supervisory employees have pled guilty to a pattern and practice of employing illegal aliens at the farm and are awaiting sentencing.

On June 24, 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents served a Notice of Suspect Documents (NSD) on M.D. Bascani and Sons, stating certain employees appeared not to be authorized for employment in the United States.
According to court documents,instead of terminating the employees listed in the NSD when they could not provide valid work authorization, M.D. Bascani and Sons told the employees that wanted to continue working at the farm to do so under different names, and how to obtain false identification documents in other names. Once the employees had acquired the fraudulent documents, the employees were “rehired” under their new names. As a result, the employment records appear to reflect that the workers identified in the NSD were terminated and new workers were hired.

During the audit/investigation, ICE agents used an informant and provided him with a fictitious Lawful Permanent Resident card and a fictitious Social Security card as well as wiring him for audio and video. The informant met with the manager of
Red Hill Mushroom Farm at which time M.D. Basciani and Sons agreed to hire the informant. The manager stated he would need to come back with different identification. Thereafter, the informant returned with fraudulent documents. The informant was put to work on the farm a few days later.

According to
Section Chief of Worksite Enforcement for ICE, Donald Buechner, ICE is focusing more of its resources on seeking criminal actions against employers who continue to employ undocumented workers after being informed by ICE of their undocumented status. Recently, ICE levied a civil fine of $2.25 million on Broetje Orchards of Prescott, Washington, because of knowingly employing almost 950 undocumented workers, who had been previously listed on a NSD and had not provided any valid work authorization documents.