After ten years of investigation, an unprecedented case of social fraud is about to be tried. It implicates a Spanish temporary employment company, Terra Fecundis. Three of its leaders were due to appear, from Monday, May 17, before the 6e correctional chamber of the court of Marseilles, for work concealed in an organized gang and bargaining of labor.
The defendants are accused of having made available thousands of workers, mostly from Latin America, without having declared them in the rules and violating various obligations relating to minimum wages, rest periods, maximum periods during which personnel can be employed, etc. These infringements resulted in a serious loss of earnings for our social protection system, deprived of contributions that should have been paid to it: a little more than 80 million euros between the beginning of 2012 and the end of 2015 – the period retained by criminal proceedings. This sum, which does not include the penalties for delays (quantified at around thirty million euros), will be claimed by Urssaf, one of the civil parties in the trial: his lawyer, Mr.e Jean-Victor Borel, confides that he never had knowledge of” Financial issues “ also important in a case of this nature.
For the past fifteen years, Terra Fecundis has carved out a place of choice in the French economy by providing French farmers with labor to pick fruits and vegetables. In 2019, the Spanish company had just over 500 customers in 35 departments. During certain years, its annual turnover in France was estimated at nearly 60 million euros, a large part of this result being attributable to contracts signed with market gardeners in the Bouches-du-Rhône and of the Gard.
Very locked organization
Its activity began to attract the attention of the courts at the end of 2010, with a check carried out by gendarmes in a farm in Saône-et-Loire, which called on Terra Fecundis: on this occasion, various sprains law had been identified, leading to the opening of an investigation. Other investigations were then initiated by several jurisdictions, due to similar failures detected among farmers who also used the services of the Spanish company. Finally, all these procedures were centralized in Marseille, leading the prosecution to order criminal proceedings.
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