Atrium fined $2 million for using illegal workers

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HOUSTON (Jan. 27, 12:30 p.m. ET) — Window and door manufacturer Atrium Corp. of Dallas has agreed to pay $2 million in forfeited funds to settle a case of employing illegal immigrants.

Atrium will pay the funds to the Department of Homeland Security, according to a Jan. 24 news release from U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson and Robert Rutt, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Houston.

Atrium operates three profile extrusion plants in the United States and one in Canada. It claims to be one of the biggest producers of windows and patio doors in the United States. The company employs a total of about 3,700 at 13 subsidiaries.

Atrium’s agreement includes a pledge to comply with immigration programs. Also agreeing to pay a fine and adhere to immigration requirements was a South Houston, Texas, producer of emergency response vehicles, Advanced Containment Systems Inc.

“These non-prosecution agreements require each company to continue their substantial remedial measures to address past immigration violations, the payment of a significant penalty and the company’s continued cooperation in an ongoing criminal investigation, while also taking into consideration the collateral consequences that a criminal prosecution would have on the company’s ongoing business concerns,” Magidson said in a news release.

Atrium received multiple notices from the Social Security Administration known as “no-match letters,” which indicated employee names and Social Security numbers did not match SSA records. Atrium’s Champion Window division derived at least $2 million in revenue from the sale of products and services provided with the use of its predominantly illegal workforce from 2006-10, officials said in a news release.

Champion allegedly hired undocumented workers for years before it was acquired by Atrium in June 2006. A Homeland Security audit in early 2011 found that 269 people in Champion’s 451-strong workforce were undocumented aliens. All undocumented aliens were let go by the end of April 2011. An audit of Atrium found 8.3 percent of the workforce for its other 12 subsidiaries were undocumented aliens and they soon also were terminated.

Under the agreement, Atrium must hire a full-time compliance officer and continue to consult with immigration counsel to ensure the legality of its workforce.

“We are pleased that this investigation has been fully resolved to the government’s satisfaction and each employee now holds proper work authorizations,” Atrium Chairman and CEO Kevin O’Meara said in a prepared statement. “Every employee at each Atrium division is fully documented, and our policies assure that this status will be maintained going forward. Atrium remains a strong and important presence in the residential housing industry, and we are especially grateful for the support and patience shown by our customers, suppliers and employees during this time.”

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