After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a San Diego-area French bakery, along with its owner and a manager, were charged in a 16 count indictment. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to engage in a pattern or practice of hiring and continuing to employee unauthorized workers, a misdemeanor, in addition to 14 felony counts, including making false statements and shielding undocumented alien employees from detection. If convicted, the owner and manager of the bakery face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. The indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture of proceeds gained from the corporation’s unlawful activities.
It has become apparent that ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce. Mike Carney, acting special agent in charge for ICE Office of Investigations in San Diego provided, “this indictment shows ICE’s commitment to holding businesses accountable when they repeatedly ignore immigration laws as it relates to their workforce. The goal of our enforcement is two-fold, first to reduce the demand for illegal employment and, second, to protect job opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce.” In FY 2009, ICE worksite investigations resulted in a total of 410 criminal arrests, including 114 management personnel.
The MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.