January 17, 2014
A Texas company and a field operations supervisor have been sentenced for harboring and transporting illegal aliens used in oil and gas survey work.
U.S. Middle District President Judge Yvette Kane recently sentenced GPX/GPX, USA, a seismic surveying company based in Sealy, Texas.
The company entered a guilty plea last March to conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens, and Douglas C. Wiggill, 44, entered a guilty plea to aiding and abetting the improper entry of illegal aliens.
The company provided seismic and surface mapping surveys for the oil and gas industry.
Wiggill, a Canadian national, worked for the company for 22 years.
Kane sentenced the company to a period of 36 months probation and ordered the criminal forfeiture of $250,000 and a $25,000 fine. Kane also ordered the company to begin a compliance program for confirming the employment eligibility and identity of its present and prospective employees.
That will be done using the E-Verify System and a verification process provided by the Department of Homeland Security, Kane said.
Kane imposed a $5,000 fine and a special assessment on Wiggill.
An indictment returned May 10, 2012, alleged the company and Wiggill hired 19 illegal aliens to work on a surveying project in Lycoming County.
The indictment alleged the company and Wiggill failed to verify the immigration status of the aliens and did not prepare the proper forms and supporting documentation showing them to be authorized to be in the U.S., according to Peter J. Smith, district U.S. attorney.
The company provided documents indicated the personnel were authorized to work legally in the U.S., when they were not, Smith said.
The incident came to light on June 23, 2011, when city police arrested the aliens after one of them allegedly tried to speak to a teenage girl and the girl’s mother contacted authorities.
Agents with U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement arrested 19 aliens employed by the company at, or in the vicinity of, apartments rented for them in the 300 block of West Third Street.
The Mexican workers have all since been deported after appearing before federal judges.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney George J. Rocktashel.
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