A two-year investigation into identity theft and hiring people not authorized to work in the United States has come to an end as Pittsburg, Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride has consented to pay the federal government $4.5 million in fines over three years. As part of the settlement, Pilgrim's Pride recognized that its voluntary compliance programs can be enhanced to more accurately identify unauthorized persons who seek or gain employment through identity fraud or other unlawful means.
No civil or criminal charges were filed against the company during the course of the investigation, and both the U.S. Attorney's office and Pilgrim's Pride acknowledged that the settlement does not constitute any admission of civil or criminal misconduct on the part of Pilgrim's Pride or any of its directors, officers, management or other employees.
Pilgrim's Pride said it continually audits and reviews its processes and procedures to assure continuing compliance with best hiring practices and existing employment law. The news comes days after Pilgrim's Pride announced it had emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy after completing a 13-month restructuring that included selling a 64% share in the company to JBS USA.