Edward Tutunjian, owner and operator of Boston Cab, Boston’s largest taxi cab company, was investigated by several federal government agencies including two separate units of the Department of Homeland Security: ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and HIS (Homeland Security Investigations.)
Mr. Tutunjian plead guilty to employing illegal aliens, tax evasion, violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, and aiding and abetting the theft of public money. Penalties:
Mr. Tutunjian was sentenced to 18 months in a correctional facility, 2 months of probation, and ordered to pay more than $2.5 million.
Trends in Federal Enforcement Cases:
We are seeing that when one government agency begins an investigation, other government agencies will soon follow suit. The end game seems to be to compile as many violations as possible to increase the penalties, and expose owners and managers to criminal liability whenever possible. Failure to comply with I-9 regulations can quickly increase fines and penalties and escalate a civil case to a criminal one, even in cases where immigration violations were not the first concern of the investigation.
In this case, Boston Cab was investigated by six different government agencies: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General (HUD-IG), the US Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (DLO-IG), and the Boston Police Department.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Company?
Every company should have a comprehensive immigration compliance plan. It does not matter if the company is small, or if it has mostly independent contractors or vendors. A good immigration compliance plan must include a full initial training of all employees who are involved in the hiring process, and scheduled annual training updates. The ICE website is very easy to find, and reporting suspected violations is as easy as sending an email or calling a 1-800 number.
Don’t become the next target. For more information on how to fully protect yourself and your company, register for a webinar through the Corporate Immigration Compliance Institute.
Leyla Galmarini McMullen, Business Immigration Attorney MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM 7007 College Blvd., # 460, Overland Park, KS 66211 USA Phone :: 913.317.6200 Email :: LMcMullen@uslegalimmigration.com