What happened to Danny’s Family Car Wash?
On August 17, 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security served an indictment on Danny’s Family Car Wash, the Phoenix, AZ area car wash chain, alleging that the 18 entities which make up the car wash company are guilty of criminal fraud, conspiracy, and identity theft. The criminal indictment followed an I-9 audit conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) in 2011.
What does the government say? The indictment charges the company with rehiring previously terminated employees under new identities and suggests that some of the entities assisted these employees in creating new identities and, possibly, counterfeit documents. The indictment refers to the 2011 federal audit of the company’s work eligibility documents (Form I-9) which found that as many as half of the 1,900 employees presented insufficient or ineligible work documents when they were hired. All of the 18 entities of Danny’s Car Wash used a professional employment organization to coordinate and administer the company’s human resources responsibilities. This HR organization, however, was not charged in the indictment.
According to ICE spokesperson Barbara Gonzalez, ICE is going after businesses that are a “magnet for unauthorized workers but not necessarily the workers themselves.” Instead, ICE is “focused on criminal investigations against company officials for hiring illegal workers” and can build a case against companies by auditing the employment eligibility documents (Form I-9).
What does this mean for employers?
ICE is holding businesses liable for alleged violations of the Immigration Reform and Control Act ("IRCA"), as promised in the revised worksite enforcement policy issued in April 2009. Businesses are not protected by hiring professional employment organizations to coordinate and administer their human resources responsibilities.
To learn more about how to protect your company from liability, register for upcoming trainings with the Corporate Immigration Compliance Institute:
Form I-9 Administrator Training
Corporate Immigration Compliance Officer Training
Form I-9 Auditor Certificate Training
Corporate Immigration Attorney
THE MDIVANI LAW FIRM, LLC
7007 College Blvd., Suite 460
Overland Park, KS 66211