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Feds Slam Asplundh Tree Company Over Undocumented Workers

Federal prosecutors accuse the Willow Grove-based tree services company of rehiring employees who were dismissed following a 2009 Homeland Security audit.
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File photo of Asplundh workers cleaning up after a 2016 snowstorm. Photo by Frank Eltman/AP

Willow Grove-headquartered Asplundh Tree Expert – one of the largest private companies in Pennsylvania, with an estimated annual revenue of $3.9 billion – has been charged by the feds with rehiring undocumented workers who were dismissed following a 2009 Homeland Security audit.

Federal prosecutors say a company official, who has not been named, and vice president and regional manager Larry Gauger of Wayne, instructed their employees to use false documentation after Homeland Security found more than 100 of Gauger’s employees working in the country illegally. 

In February, Gauger and two other executives, Jude Solis and Juan Rodriguez, were charged with visa fraud and conspiracy relating to the alleged scheme. All three of the defendants entered plea deals and are scheduled to be sentenced in October. The terms of those plea deals are confidential, as they were filed under seal.

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors charged the company itself with one count of unlawful employment of aliens, alleging that Gauger, who managed a regional office in Horsham between 2010 and 2014, used “different and false names and false identity documentation,” such as social security cards, to rehire at least four employees that were dismissed as a result of the Homeland Security audit.

In addition to the work that the company does, Asplundh is also known for its conservative political activities. The company’s political action committee donated $295,000 to exclusively Republican candidates in 2016, including thousands to Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

The PAC also sent $95,000 to the Republican National Committee, which called for “absolutely” securing the border in its immigration platform.

Asplundh Tree Expert Co. was founded in Pennsylvania in 1928. The company reportedly employs more than 34,000 people. The Asplundh family ranked at 103 on Forbes’ Richest American Families list in 2015.

A spokesperson for Asplundh Tree Expert did not return a request for comment.

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