TVA gets $3.5M in tree firm's immigration case

Friday, December 01, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 48

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Valley Authority has received $3.5 million in a settlement with a tree-trimming firm that pleaded guilty in a scheme to employ thousands of people in the country illegally.

A TVA Office of Inspector General's report says Asplundh Tree Expert Co. has already paid the utility.

Prosecutors say Asplundh "remained willfully blind" while managers hired workers they knew to be in the country illegally.

The suburban Philadelphia-based company pleaded guilty in September. A federal judge sentenced Asplundh to pay $95 million. Prosecutors say it's the largest monetary penalty ever levied in an immigration case.

Of the $95 million, $15 million satisfied civil claims about the company's failure to comply with immigration law. That included $3.6 million to TVA, with 3 percent going to the U.S. Justice Department.