The government has fined U.S. tree-trimming company a record $95 million for knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants.
U.S. prosecutors said the fine against Philadelphia-based Asplundh Tree Expert Co. was the largest criminal penalty ever imposed in an immigration case.
Prosecutors said company managers deliberately looked the other way while supervisors knowingly hired thousands of undocumented workers between 2010 and 2014.
The prosecutors said this gave Asplundh a large workforce ready to take on emergency weather-related jobs across the country, putting its competitors at an unfair disadvantage.
A federal investigation into Asplundh was opened in 2015 and the company said it had since taken a number of steps to end "the practices of the past."
"We accept responsibility for the charges as outlined, and we apologize to our customers, associates and all other stakeholders," company Chairman Scott Asplundh said.