Surveying Company Caught Sneaking Illegal Immigrants to PA

A strange-but-true story: GPX, a Texas-based seismic surveying company doing work in Pennsylvania for the oil and gas industry, was caught trying to sneak in illegal aliens to work on their surveying crews in PA.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced the unsealing of a 20-count indictment against GPX/GPX USA, a seismic surveying company 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 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 of last year GPX and Wiggill hired 19 illegal aliens to work on a seismic surveying project. 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, authorities, including agents of Homeland Security Investigations arrested the 19 aliens employed by GPX at, or in the vicinity of, apartments rented for them by Wiggill and GPX.

Wiggill, a 42-year old resident of Ft. Worth, Texas, was taken into custody in 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.*

Let’s see, 100 years in prison, 60 years of supervised release, and paying $5 million. If Mr. Wiggill had only murdered someone he would have gotten out in 5-7 years with good behavior and not had to pay anything.

*Westmoreland Times (May 31, 2012) – Firm and field operations supervisor charged with harboring illegal aliens for work in Pennsylvania