Willow Grove-based Asplundh Tree Expert Co. is huge, privately owned corporation with more than 36,000 employees and estimated annual sales of $3.5 billion, according to Forbes, which counts it as one of America’s largest private companies. But now, Asplundh finds itself the recipient of some very unwelcome attention thanks to charges just filed in federal court.
An Asplundh vice president, Larry Gauger, 45, of Wayne, has been charged with visa fraud and conspiracy relating to his work at the company. Two other Asplundh managers have been charged as well, according to the Department of Justice, but their names have yet to be released.
According to a charging document filed in federal court in Philadelphia on Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security audited Asplundh’s employment records and determined that some of its workers were ineligible to work in the United States. The employees were fired.
Homeland Security determined that approximately 100 of those employees had been working in a division managed by Gauger. The feds allege that Gauger instructed his team’s supervisors and foremen to accept working credentials that they knew to be fraudulent and illegally obtained.
Gauger is also accused of directing his managers to rehire under false identification employees who had been fired as a result of the Homeland Security audit.
Investigators point to two specific instances involving undocumented immigrants who presented bogus Social Security cards. The charges allege that Gauger knew that the Social Security cards were “forged, counterfeited, altered, falsely made, or otherwise procured by fraud.”
Interestingly, Asplundh is known to be a pretty conservative company. They even have their own PAC, which donated $95,000 to the Republican National Committee, $30,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, and $45,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the last election cycle. They also threw in $10,000 to Donald Trump, who we’re pretty sure isn’t a fan of what he likes to call “illegals.”
A representative of Asplundh declined to comment on the charges.