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  • Bloggings: Company and its Owner Plead Guilty to Cover-up of Unlawful Hiring by Bruce Buchanan

    Bloggings on I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

    Bruce Buchanan

    Company and its Owner Plead Guilty to Cover-up of Unlawful Hiring

    In another instance of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cracking down on employers who are hiring undocumented workers, the owner of Wazana Brothers International, which does business as Micro Solutions Enterprises (MSE), agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of false representation of a Social Security number. Yoel Wazana admitted in the plea agreement that he caused two employees to use the Social Security numbers of relatives in order to remain employed after ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began an investigation of the company. 

    MSE agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of continuing employment of unauthorized aliens. MSE admitted hiring approximately 55 unauthorized workers, and then continuing to employ them after the ICE audit had begun. Furthermore, the company admitted it knew, or deliberately avoided knowledge of the fact, that the individuals were not authorized to work in the
    United States.

    Under the terms of the plea agreement, MSE agreed to pay $267,000 in civil and criminal fines. Beyond the monetary sanctions, the plea agreement requires the company to be on probation for three years, during which time it will implement a series of stringent measures to ensure it is complying with the nation's hiring laws. Those steps include retaining an independent compliance monitor to oversee the completion and maintenance of the firm's hiring records, and providing training to employees regarding federal hiring laws.

    The charges against Wazana and his company are the result of an investigation into MSE's hiring practices that was initiated by HSI in 2007. According to court documents, shortly after MSE received notification in April 2007 that HSI planned to audit the company's payroll and hiring records, Wazana directed that about 80 of MSE's most experienced employees – at least 53
    of whom did not have work authorization – be relocated to another manufacturing facility. When investigators requested hiring records from MSE on three separate occasions, the company failed to provide paperwork for those unauthorized workers. After learning of the ICE audit, Wazana conducted meetings with MSE's assembly line workers, instructing them to obtain valid work authorization documents and return with those documents, suggesting that he did not care if the documents were actually theirs.


    About The Author

    Bruce E. Buchanan is an attorney at the at Nashville Office of Siskind Susser, P.C. He represents individuals and employers in all aspects of immigration law, with an emphasis on immigration compliance for employers, and employment/labor law. Mr. Buchanan received his law degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1982 and a B.S. degree from Florida State University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Mr. Buchanan has been in private practice since 2003. Beforehand, he served as Senior Trial Specialist for the National Labor Relations Board for 20 years. He also served from 1991 to 2003 as Adjunct Professor at William H. Bowen UALR School of Law, where he taught courses in Labor Law and Employment Law. Mr. Buchanan was chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Immigration Law Section from 2011 to 2012 and has been the editor of the TBA's Immigration Law Section Newsletter and the TBA's Labor and Employment Law Section Newsletter since 2009. Mr. Buchanan is a frequent writer and speaker on immigration compliance as well as labor law, wage & hour law and proposed federal legislation. He is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and serves as the Advocacy Liaison of the Mid-South Chapter of AILA. Mr. Buchanan also serves on the Board of Directors for the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) and is an associate member of the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors. Mr. Buchanan is admitted to practice in Tennessee, Florida, and Arkansas, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits and the U.S. District Courts for the Middle District of Tennessee and the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas.


    The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.
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