Texas Firm and Field Operations Supervisor Charged with Harboring and Transporting Illegal Aliens Used in North Central Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Survey Work
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 29, 2012|
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania today announced the unsealing of a 20-count indictment against GPX/GPX USA, a seismic surveying company based in Sealy, Texas, and its field operations supervisor, Douglas C. Wiggill. The indictment filed under seal on May 10, 2012 charges GPX and Wiggill with harboring and transporting illegal aliens, and conspiracy to commit those offenses, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. GPX is engaged in the business of providing seismic and surface mapping surveys for the oil and gas industry.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the indictment alleges that in May 2011 GPX and Wiggill hired 19 illegal aliens to work on a seismic surveying project in Lycoming County. The indictment alleges that GPX and Wiggill failed to verify the immigration status of the aliens and did not prepare the required Form I-9 and supporting documentation concerning the aliens’ authorization to be in the United States.
According to the indictment, GPX executed a contractor compliance agreement certifying that all personnel were authorized to work legally in the United States when, in fact, they were not. On June 23 and 24, 2011, officers of the Williamsport Bureau of Police and agents of Homeland Security Investigations arrested the 19 aliens employed by GPX at, or in the vicinity of, apartments rented for them in Williamsport by Wiggill and GPX. The arrests were a result of an investigation of one of the aliens by Williamsport Police.
Wiggill, a 42-year old resident of Ft. Worth, Texas, was taken into custody today in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. If convicted, he faces a maximum aggregate sentence on all 20 counts of the indictment of 100 years in prison, a fine of $5 million, a supervised release term of 60 years, and a special assessment of $2,000. GPX faces a total maximum fine of $10 million, a probation term of five years on each count, and a special assessment totaling $8,000.
“Homeland Security Investigations is committed to holding businesses and their managers accountable when they knowingly hire an illegal workforce,” said John Kelleghan, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Philadelphia. “HSI and our law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that employers follow our nation’s hiring laws, which ultimately protects job opportunities for the nation’s legal workers and levels the playing field for those businesses that play by the rules.”
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Williamsport Bureau of Police. Prosecution of this matter has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney George J. Rocktashel.
An indictment or information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the grand jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.