IFCO Systems recently handed over $2.3 million to New York state and local enforcement agencies as a result of a corporate criminal liability settlement. The settlement stemmed from the hiring and employment of illegal alien workers at its wood pallet recycling plants before April 19, 2006. The forfeiture resulted from an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The money represents a portion of the first installment of payments by IFCO in conjunction with the settlement agreement made in 2008. IFCO agreed to pay a total of $20,697,317.51, including $18,132,000 in forfeiture to be deposited into the Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund and $2,565,317.51 in overtime compensation and civil penalties to the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division, for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The agreement also included a rigorous compliance and reporting program geared to prevent the employment of illegal aliens at IFCO operations, including the use of DHS's E-Verify program for all new hires, and the verification of the social security numbers of all IFCO employees through SSA. IFCO must also is also operate an employee hotline for reports of violations.
If the company continues to remain compliant with all of the agreement's terms and conditions until 2012, the U.S. Attorney's Office will not seek to prosecute the company for any criminal charges related to the conduct of its employees prior to April 2006.