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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

Manager pleads guilty re: undocumented workers; Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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Thomas Gard, a manager of Hallmark Industrial Services Inc., pled guilty in federal district court in August 2013 to harboring 42 undocumented workers, who were engaged in cleanup work on an oil spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Previously, the owner of Hallmark Industrial, Philip Hallmark, had pleaded guilty to similar crimes. According to Gard’s guilty plea, Hallmark Industrial was contracted by Garner Environmental to clean up a ruptured pipeline that resulted in an oil spill in Kalamazoo. Hallmark Industrial knowingly employed undocumented workers to clean up the oil spill, and fraudulently completed work authorization forms on their behalf. As a part of the conspiracy, the undocumented workers were housed in hotels, provided meals and transported to and from the worksite while they worked to clean the oil spill. Gard admitted he conspired with Hallmark to transport the undocumented workers back from Michigan after a now former U.S. Congressman accused Hallmark Industrial of hiring undocumented workers to clean up the Kalamazoo oil spill. To further the employment of the undocumented workers, Hallmark and Gard paid the undocumented workers in cash. The investigation also revealed the undocumented workers received less than what the contractor paid the company. Both Hallmark and Gard face a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.This criminal case is just another of numerous instances of managers and/or owners receiving criminal penalties due to immigration-related violations of the law.

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