By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

Three top officials with TentLogix, a Fort Pierce, Florida based tent rental business, Gary Hendry, the CEO of TentLogix, its president Dennis Birdsall, and Kent Hughes were indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring “to conceal or harbor aliens for the purpose of commercial advantage.” Hendry and Birdsall are also accused of making false statements to Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a criminal forfeiture of nearly $19 million.

TentLogix has been under scrutiny by HSI/ICE since July 2016, when federal agents conducted an audit of the company’s I-9 forms, resulting in a determination that the company employed 96 workers who were not authorized to work in the United States. Federal agents warned TentLogix “it could be subject to criminal charges if it continued to employ these aliens.” TentLogix, through its attorney, falsely stated to HSI that TentLogix had terminated these employees who were not authorized to work in the United States. However, this statement was false as those employees were still working for TentLogix although as shown below they were on KH Services’ payroll.

On March 28, 2018, HSI/ICE served a criminal search warrant on TentLogix (ICE denied it was a raid although it looks like a raid), and 28 undocumented workers were removed from the business and taken into custody. Fifteen months later, the company’s two top officials have been indicted.

In the indictment, Hendry, Birdsall and Hughes are accused of creating KH Services, a limited liability company, in March 2017 “for the purpose of concealing, harboring and shielding aliens employed by TentLogix from detection by law enforcement.” According to the government, Hendry agreed to cover all the costs associated with KH Services and pay Hughes a fee for each undocumented worker who was transferred to TentLogix payroll to KH Services’ payroll.

Between May 2017 and March 2018, TentLogix transferred “$3 million to KH Services in 23 separate wire transfers” for the express purpose of paying the undocumented workers who continued to work for TentLogix. Birdsall provided Hughes with the hours worked and hourly rate for each worker on a bi-weekly basis based on timesheets he maintained at TentLogix. Hughes then transmitted this information to Paychex, Inc., a payroll services provider, so that paychecks drawn on KH Services' bank account were generated for the undocumented workers who were employed by TentLogix.

These indictments are evidence of the serious nature of concealing and harboring undocumented workers. Owners and managers at other companies, including Waste Management, Asplundh Tree Experts, and Southeastern Provision, have been convicted of similar charges and served jail time.

If you are concerned about your company’s immigration compliance, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book that I co-authored with Greg Siskind, available at