$4 Million for Hiring|Undocumented Workers

     HOUSTON (CN) – Two companies that hired illegal immigrants avoided criminal prosecution by agreeing to pay $2 million apiece to the United States.
     Atrium Companies, owner of Houston-based Champion Window, and Advanced Containment Systems, of South Houston, also agreed to “adhere to revised immigration compliance programs,” federal prosecutors said.
     Both companies received multiple “no-match letters” from the Social Security Administration. Such letters are sent when employee names and Social Security numbers do not match the agency’s records.
     “The companies failed to take corrective measures, resulting in the continued employment of the undocumented aliens,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “For ACSI, this resulted in approximately $2 million in wages paid to these undocumented aliens between 2005 and 2009, while Champion derived at least $2 million in revenue from the sales of its products manufactured and services provided with the use of its predominantly illegal workforce from 2006 through 2010.”
     Immigration and Customs Enforcement audited ACSI’s employment eligibility verification forms, known as I-9 forms, in February 2011, and found that from 2005 to 2009, about 44 percent of its work force was undocumented, prosecutors said.
     ACSI manufactures emergency response vehicles, and trailers.
     Atrium Companies acquired Champion Window in June 2006.
     “For years, Champion managers ignored the requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by falsely attesting on I-9 forms that work authorization documents presented by new hires appeared genuine,” prosecutors said in the statement. “An audit conducted by ICE-HSI in early 2011 revealed that approximately 269 of Champion’s 451-person workforce consisted of undocumented aliens. At the request of the government, all of the undocumented aliens were terminated from Champion by the end of April 2011.”
     As part of its non-prosecution deal, Atrium must hire a full-time chief compliance officer and consult with immigration officials to make sure its work force is legal.
     Atrium is the United States’ largest manufacturer of residential vinyl and aluminum windows and patio doors. It employs about 3,700 people at 13 subsidiaries in seven states and Canada.

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