Wisconsin timber company owner ordered to pay $1.1M in restitution for illegal placement of foreign workers 

Alfredo Aguilar, co-owner of Trempealeau County timber company Northwoods Forestry Inc., has been ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution to foreign workers, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. He has been found guilty of illegally placing foreign workers and lying to federal officials.  

Court records show that between 2015 and 2018, Aguilar, who co-owns Northwoods Forestry Inc. with his wife, Patricia Aguilar, recruited 263 workers from Mexico and Central America for forestry work through the H-2B work visa program. The program allows U.S. employers to hire temporary workers from overseas to perform labor as long as the labor addresses one-time, seasonal, intermittent, or peak needs.  

Aguilar placed the workers with non-forestry employers in industries including meat packing, roofing, agriculture, construction, painting, and fur processing. By his own admission, he knew the foreign employees were not legally authorized to work in these positions, failed to pay the workers the highest applicable wages, and did not pay them for overtime work. 

After pleading guilty to related charges in January, Aguilar was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday. He has paid the court-ordered restitution money to the impacted employees in addition to another $210,000 in case-associated fines.