Immigration Issues

When Breaking the Law by Hiring Illegal Aliens Doesn't Pay (2008)

The biggest incentive for illegal aliens to come to the United States is to find work. If there are no employers willing to hire the illegal aliens, then the flood of illegal aliens will subside. The Immigration and Reform Act of 1986 outlawed hiring illegal alien workers, although common practice has proven that measure ineffective.

Historically, immigration law enforcement has been the exclusive province of federal law enforcement, but states are increasingly joining with the federal government in that effort and enacting legislation to punish employers for hiring violations. On January 1, 2008, an employer sanctions law took affect in Arizona. Business owners face the nation's first state law that requires employers to verify the work documents of their new employees. The law says any business that knowingly hires a worker who is in the country illegally will have its business license suspended. For a second offense, the business' license could be revoked. That is different from the federal penalties of fines and possible criminal prosecution that have been infrequently imposed for similar offenses.

The information below is taken from news sources. Each party in the report either confessed or was convicted of hiring illegal immigrants. These cases are listed to illustrate the widespread abuse and recently increasing prosecution of companies employing illegal aliens.

  • December 2008—David E. Wortman, the owner of Cloudburst Lawn and Sprinkler Systems in Grand Island, Nebraska was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison. He had pled guilty in October to harboring illegal workers for commercial advantage. He admitted hiring at least 26 undocumented workers and paying their wages in cash. (The Grand Island Independent, December 10, 2008)
  • November 2008—Jimmy Moore, 47, the former vice president of Mack Associates, a firm that owns 11 McDonald's restaurants in and around Reno, was sentenced to three years of probation and 40 hours of community service after he pled guilty to one felony count of inducing an illegal immigrant to remain in the United States. The company's director of operations, Joe Gillespie, was similarly sentenced to three years of probation. Two other employees were earlier convicted and sentenced to community service and to pay fines of $1,000. Mack Associates was fined $1 million and was placed on probation for one year. In September 2007, 58 illegal immigrants working at the sites were arrested. (The Reno Gazette Journal, November 20, 2008)
  • November 2008—Alejandro 'Alex' Urrutia-Garcia, the human resources director for Universal Industrial Sales in Utah, has been sentenced to three years probation for hiring illegal immigrants. His sentence was part of a plea bargain in which he agreed to cooperate with the investigation of his employer, who he said required him to hire the illegal workers to keep his job. A raid of the company found 57 illegal alien workers in February. (The Deseret Morning News, November 14, 2008)
  • November 2008—Francesco Insolia, the owner of Michael Bianco Inc. pled guilty to harboring and concealing aliens (ICE arrested 361 workers at the leather-goods plant). He faces 12 to 18 months in prison and a fine of $30,000. The company pled guilty to 18 counts of knowingly hiring illegal aliens and agreed to pay a fine of about $1.5 million plus restitution for overtime to employees. (New York Times, November 4, 2008)
  • October 2008—Sholom Rubashkin, former chief executive of the Iowa kosher meatpacking company Agriprocessors, and son of its founder, has been charged with intentionally helping illegal workers obtain false documentation (Washington Post, October 31, 2008). A day earlier, Laura Althouse, a plant manager pled guilty to helping illegal immigrant workers obtain false resident visa numbers so they could be hired at the plant. She faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and fines of up to $500,000. A plant human resources manager, Karina Freund, faces similar charges. (New York Times, October 30, 2008). Freund pled guilty to "aiding and abetting a pattern or practice of hiring undocumented aliens." She faces a possible maximum sentence of six months in prison or a term of probation of not more than five years and a fine of up to $3,000 for each undocumented worker involved in the offense. (The Iowa Independent, December 10, 2008). Martin De La Rosa-Loera, a poultry line supervisor at Agriprocessors, received a two-year sentence for aiding and abetting the harboring of undocumented aliens. De La Rosa entered the United States illegally from Mexico but gained legal status in 2002. (The Iowa Independent, March 4, 2009)
  • October 2008—Two managers at a New Bedford, Mass. leather-goods factory raided in 2007 pled guilty to employing illegal aliens. Dilia Costa and Gloria Melo, managers at Michael Bianco Inc. under a plea agreement would serve two years probation including six months of home confinement. Melo who pled guilty to knowingly allowing illegal aliens to work at the factory would also pay a $500 fine. Costa pled guilty to harboring illegal aliens. (AP, October 25, 2008).
  • October 2008—Lenny Dartez, the owner of Winston Service Contractors, who pled guilty to harboring illegal aliens in July, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, probation for five years and a fine of $12,000. He had been employing illegal aliens from Trinidad in Lafayette, Louisiana.
  • October 2008—Republic Services Inc., a national waste disposal company has agreed to pay a $1 million penalty to the federal government pursuant to an agreement that acknowledges criminal wrongdoing at its subsidiary in Houston. The subsidiary, Republic Waste Services of Texas, was found to be employing illegal alien workers. The parent company, Republic Services, as part of the government agreement, will assist in the government's investigation of two former managers at the Houston facility who are suspected of knowingly hiring the illegal alien workers. (The Houston Chronicle, October 2, 2008).
  • September 2008—Juan Solano, an owner of the El Pollo Rico restaurant in Kensington, Maryland was sentenced to 15 months in prison and forfeiture of $7.2 million for employing and housing illegal aliens from 1999 to 2007 as well as for money laundering. His sister, Consuelo Solano, was sentenced to two months imprisonment and eight months home detention. (AP, September 29 20, 2008).
  • September 2008—Lawrence Shipley III, the president of Shipley Do-Nut, a company in Dallas, pled guilty to conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens and faces a maximum fine of $500,000 and up to five years probation. Jimmy Rivera, a former warehouse manager; Julian Garcia, the current warehouse manager; and Christopher Halsey, the current warehouse supervisor pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of hiring or continuing to hire illegal aliens. All three men have been convicted and sentenced to six months probation. Halsey, Rivera and Garcia were fined $1,000, $1,500 and $2,000, respectively. The firm agreed to a forfeiture of $1.3 million. (AP, September 5, 2008)
  • August 2008—Juan Carlos Guerrero-Espinoza, a former supervisor at Agriprocessors' kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, was convicted of conspiring to hire illegal aliens and aiding and abetting the hiring of illegal aliens. Guerrero-Espinoza told employees at the plant that he knew they were unauthorized to work in the United States. However, he told them their employment would be terminated, but they would be hired back. He faces a maximum of ten years in prison. (ICE, August 20, 2008).
  • August 2008—Dionel Barrios-Fraire, a Mexican illegal alien, and his wife, Ann Elda Barrios, pled guilty to hiring and harboring illegal aliens in Springfield, Missouri. They employed illegal aliens to work on roofing jobs for their company, Taylor Made Roofing. Barrios-Fraire and Barrios each could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. (ICE, August 07, 2008)
  • July 2008—Jean Robinson, chief financial officer of Spectrum Interiors, was convicted of harboring illegal aliens for commercial advantage and private financial gain in Covington Kentucky. She admitted to knowingly conspiring to use labor contracts to provide illegal aliens to perform drywall and exterior applications. She was sentenced to three years probation, six months of home detention, and one hundred hours of community service. (ICE, July 30, 2008)
  • July 2008—Tony Evans, the president of a Kansas City roofing company pled guilty to conspiring to hire illegal immigrants to work as roofers in the area. He and Luis Hernandez-Bautista, a do-defendant face up to 20 years in federal prison and fines of up to $500,000. (The Kansas City Star, July 29, 2008)
  • July 2008—Ted Evans, president of Mid Continent Specialist, pled guilty to conspiring to hire illegal aliens in Kansas City, Missouri. Evans admitted that he participated in two separate conspiracies to encourage illegal aliens to reside in the United States for the purpose of private financial gain and commercial advantage. Evans faces a sentence of up to twenty years without parole and a fine up to 500,000 dollars. (ICE, July 29, 2008)
  • July 2008—Ruben Tinoco-Tinoco, owner of Taurus Painting, Inc., pled guilty to harboring illegal immigrants in Jacksonville, Florida. ICE arrested thirty four illegal immigrants, and twenty nine of those aliens admitted to working for Tinoco-Tinoco. He faces a sentence of ten years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Under the terms of a plea agreement, he has also agreed to pay $50,000 and surrender two houses in forfeiture. (ICE, July 29, 2008)
  • July 2008—Francisco C. Solano, co-owner of El Pollo Rico Restaurant, pled guilty today to conspiracy to harbor aliens, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and structuring bank transactions to evade reporting requirements in Greenbelt, Maryland. Solano concealed illegal aliens in residences and businesses he owned, and he paid them in cash. As a part of the plea, he agrees to forfeit 7.2 million dollars in cash, properties, vehicles, and other assets. He faces a maximum of twenty years in prison for money laundering, ten years in prison for harboring conspiracy, and five years in prison for structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements. (ICE, July 24, 2008)
  • July 2008—Lenny J. Dartez, the owner of Winston Service Contractors in Baton Rouge, Louisiana pled guilty to harboring aliens and faces a sentence of up to five years in jail and a possible maximum $250,000 fine in addition to a civil penalty of $45,000. His office manager, Kenneth J. Morrison, also pled guilty for having knowledge of a federal felony and failing to notify law enforcement of the crime and for signing the illegal alien’s paychecks. He faces a sentence of up to three years and also a possible maximum fine of $250,000. (The Advocate, July 16, 2008)
  • June 2008—Nicholas Sama and Timothy Gibson, managers for Car Care, pled guilty to conspiring to defraud the government, harboring illegal aliens, and committing identity theft in Horsham, Pennsylvania. They could be sentenced to five years in prison and 25,000 fine, and three years of supervised relief. Car Care pled guilty to the charge and was ordered to pay $100,000 and to forfeit $500,000 to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Courier Post, June 29, 2008)
  • June 2008—Carol Hill, human resources manager at Sun Dry Wall & Stucco Inc, pled guilty to federal charges of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens for profit in Sierra Vista, Arizona. She admitted in her plea that she removed fifty-eight federal right to work forms she did not want federal agents to inspect. She faces up to fifteen months in prison and a fine according to her plea agreement. (The Associated Press, June 27, 2008)
  • June 2008—Hao Zhu and his wife Ping Cheng, pled guilty to evading taxes and unlawfully employing aliens in connection with their employment of illegal aliens at two restaurants in Ocean City, Maryland. Zhu & Partners, LLC plead guilty to alien harboring and inducing aliens to reside in the United States. Zhu & Partners, LLC faces a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by its conduct, together with costs of prosecution. Zhu faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for employment tax evasion and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by his conduct, together with costs of prosecution. Cheng faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison for unlawful employment of illegal aliens and a fine of $3,000 for each unauthorized alien with respect to whom such a violation occurs. (DHS/ICE Press Release, June 03, 2008)
  • April 2008—Felisberto J. Magalhaes, president of CMC Concrete Construction, pled guilty to hiring illegal immigrants in Alexandria, Virginia. The judge sentenced him to one year of probation and ordered him to forfeit 122,000 dollars, which were traceable to the offense. (The Washington Post, April 23, 2008)
  • April 2008—Daniel Tacuri, an illegal immigrant from Ecuador, pled guilty to harboring and employing illegal immigrants in Milford, Massachusetts. Tacuri faces up to ten years in prison and 250, 000 in fines for each of the twenty counts of harboring illegal immigrants. (The Boston Globe, April 11, 2008)
  • January 2008—Xian Xi Ye, former owner of a Buffet City restaurant in Springfield, Illinois, was convicted of housing and employing more than two dozen undocumented workers. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison. (Northwest Herald, January 29, 2008)
  • January 2008—Dora Ruiz, former employee of George’s Processing, was convicted of recruiting and harboring illegal immigrants on January 15th in Joplin, Missouri. She could be sentenced up to ten years in prison for the convictions. (Joplin Globe, January 16th, 2008)
  • January 2008—Michael Morgan and Robert Lanahan, former owners of Jones Industrial Work of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to conspiring to hiring illegal aliens in December. As part of the plea, they forfeited interest in the company. They could be sentecneced up to ten years in prison. (Baltimore Sun, Janaury 08, 2008)
  • November 2007—Siddhartha “Sam” Shah, owner of Super Eight Motels, pleaded guilty to smuggling and harboring illegal aliens on August 23rd in Madison, Wisconsin. The judge sentenced Shah to twenty-one months in prison and a $20,000 fine. (DHS/ICE Press Release, November 27, 2007)
  • November 2007— Joette Reidy, an officer of Lochirco Fruit and Produce, pled guilty to the federal charges of hiring illegal aliens in Missouri and will be sentenced in February. Additionally, the company has also pled guilty and agreed to a 99, 000 fine and forfeit 500, 000 dollars. (The Associated Press, November 21)
  • November 2007—Robert Pratt, a contractor at Fisher Homes, pleaded guilty to supplying illegal immigrant workers, in Covington Kentucky. He was sentenced to eighteen months in federal prison on November 15th and now faces charges of fraud for underpayment of employment taxes. (DHS/ICE Press Release, November 15, 2007)
  • November 2007—Christina A. Flocken, controller of Rosenbaum-Cunningham International Inc., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the federal government and to harboring illegal aliens. Flocken could be sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine plus a share of a restitution judgment exceeding $15 million. (DHS/ICE Press Release, November 07, 2007)
  • October 2007—Dean A. Hedges, owner of Hedges Landscape Specialist Inc., Exterior Design Inc., and Performance Irrigation LLC, pleaded guilty to knowingly employing illegal aliens, in Crestwood Kentucky. If convicted, Hedges could face a $24,000 fine and six months imprisonment or up to five years probation. Hedges has already agreed to forfeit $147,000 seized from his corporate bank accounts. (DHS/ICE Press Release, October 03, 2007)
  • July 2007—Joseph Edward Fulmer, owner of the Stitching Post, pleaded guilty to encouraging and inducing illegal aliens to come to the United States, harboring illegal aliens, misuse of government documents, and engaging in a pattern of employing illegal aliens. In exchange for the plea, the judge sentenced him to six months of prison, forfeiture of his residence, and one hundred hours of community service. (DHS/ICE Press Release, July 23, 2007)
  • July 2007—Abelino Chicas, systems manager for the Pallet Management Division of IFCO Systems North America (IFCO), pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the transportation and harboring of illegal aliens in Albany, New York. Chicas could be sentenced up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised relief. (DHS/ICE Press Release, July 16, 2007)
  • July 2007—Gerardo Dominguez-Chacon, former supervisor for Quality Service Integrity Inc. (QSI) at the Cargill Pork Processing Plant, pleaded guilty to harboring illegal aliens and aiding aggravated identity fraud in Springfield, Illinois. For the offense of harboring illegal aliens, the maximum statutory penalty is 10 years and a $250,000 maximum fine. For aiding aggravated identity theft, the penalty is a mandatory two years to be served consecutive to any other term of imprisonment ordered except other violations of aiding aggravated identity fraud. (DHS/ICE Press Release, July 12, 2007)
  • April 2007—Jose Calhelha, former owner of ten Connecticut Dunkin’ Donuts, pleaded guilty to illegally encouraging aliens to come to the United Sates and illegally harboring aliens in Guilford Connecticut on December 29th. In exchange for his plea, he was sentenced to serve ten months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised relief and fined one million dollars in monetary damage. (DHS/ICE Press Release, April 30, 2007)
  • March 2007—Melvin Kay, president of Golden State Corporation, pleaded guilty to knowingly employing illegal aliens in December 2006 in California. In exchange for his plea, he was sentenced to three years probation, one hundred and eighty days of home confinement, and a hundred thousand dollar fine. Additionally, 4.7 million dollars of the company’s assets are being forfeited to the government. (DHS/ICE Press Release, March 28, 2007)
  • March 2007—Jin Chai Lin, illegal alien from China, pleaded guilty to knowingly hiring illegal workers for his local restaurant on December 19th in Radcliffe, Kentucky. In exchange for his plea, he was sentenced to two years in prison, six months of home confinement, and forfeiture of $42,788. As an illegal alien, he will be placed in deportation proceedings after he completes his sentence. (DHS/ICE Press Release, March 26, 2007)
  • January 2007—Cong Ling (Amy) Huang, owner of Osaka Japanese steakhouse, pleaded guilty on behalf of the company in Hot Springs, Arkansas. According to court documents, she did not review employees’ work authorization documents when they were hired. As part of the plea agreement, a fine of $45,000 has been recommended by the court. (DHS/ICE Press Release Janaury 18, 2007)
  • January 2007—Jing Fei Jiang, owner of Bee’s Buffet, pleaded guilty to transporting and harboring an illegal alien to work in his restaurant, and making a false statement on an application for a small business loan in Cincinnati. According to the plea agreement Jiang, an illegal immigrant once deported, also agreed to forfeit property, cash, content of three bank accounts, and a vehicle. After serving his prison time, Jiang faces deportation. (DHS/ICE Press Release, January 11, 2007)
Updated 11/08