HerbCo International to Pay $1MM for Immigration Violations; Executives on Probation
On May 1, 2012 ICE reported that Herbco International, a Washington-based supplier of fresh organic herbs to nearly 2,700 grocers, was sentenced Tuesday to $1 million in criminal fines and probation for hiring illegal aliens in a case spurred by a tip to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The company had approximately 300 employees.
ICE said that "In a plea agreement, HerbCo International, Inc., and three top executives admitted knowingly hiring illegal aliens at their Duvall packing facility in violation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. The law requires employers to review documents from each worker they hire to verify they are legally present in the United States and authorized to be employed.
The corporation pleaded guilty to felony offences and was sentenced to a fine of $1 million and five years' probation for harboring, concealing, shielding an illegal alien, and encouraging and inducing an illegal alien to reside. The executives, Edward Williamson "Ted" Andrews, III 58, of Seattle; David William Lykins Jr., vice president, 55, of Lake Stevens; and Debra Rae Howard, general manager, 56, of Woodinville, each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offence and were sentenced to one year probation for aiding and abetting a pattern or practice of employing illegal aliens.
HSI conducted a review of the company's I-9 employment eligibility verification forms in early 2011. HSI special agents and forensic auditors worked closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington in the criminal prosecution of this case."
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