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- 12-04-2012, 02:33 PM #1
Wichita Co. Pleads Guilty To Knowing McDonald's Manager Was Undocumented
Posted: Tue 9:04 AM, Dec 04, 2012
WICHITA, KAN. – A Wichita corporation has pleaded guilty to an immigration charge after a federal investigation showed that the manager of one of its McDonald’s restaurants was an undocumented worker who provided identification documents the company knew were false, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced today.
McCalla Corporation, a McDonald’s franchisee with offices at 9342 E. Central that operates six restaurants in Wichita, pleaded guilty to one felony count of knowingly accepting a fraudulent identification document offered as proof that an employee was eligible to work.
As part of the plea agreement, the corporation agreed to pay a $300,000 fine, and an additional $100,000 forfeiture judgment.
The case is the second time this year that a Kansas company has been charged with knowingly employing undocumented workers. In the other case, the owners of two hotels in Overland Park, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., were charged with knowingly hiring undocumented workers for housekeeping jobs.
“Any employer who knowingly or negligently hires undocumented workers is violating federal law and contributing to the problem of illegal immigration,” Grissom said. “Kansas employers should be on notice that they have a responsibility to monitor their hiring practices and to help us safeguard this nation by hiring and maintaining a lawful workforce.”
Employers that try to cut costs and gain an economic advantage over competitors by means of unlawful hiring practices are causing problems in Kansas and across the nation, Grissom said.
“We are all at risk when businesses knowingly hire falsely-documented workers,” Grissom said. “Such practices create a marketplace for unauthorized workers who may resort to obtaining and presenting false documents, completing applications for fraudulent benefits and stealing identities of legal U.S. workers.”
In the guilty plea, McCalla Corporation admitted that it knowingly employed an undocumented worker. McCalla Corporation owns McDonald’s restaurants in Wichita at 1630 S. Hillside, 11989 E. Kellogg, 501 E. Pawnee, 1219 S. Rock Road, 2418 S. Seneca and 1645 S. Webb Road. The company admitted that in March 2011 the company’s director of operations became aware that one of its store managers was using a Social Security number not assigned to her. The director of operations told the McDonald’s store manager she needed to provide him new documents to confirm her eligibility to work.
Two days later, the store manager presented a resident alien identification card. The director of operations knew the new card was not genuine. He knew that it takes weeks, not just two days, for a foreign national to obtain a resident alien card. Nevertheless, he updated the store manager’s paperwork and McCalla Corporation took no further action concerning her employment. The store manager continued working as a store manager from May 2009 to September 2012.
According to court records, investigators learned that five of the six McCalla Corporation McDonald’s store managers were unlawfully in the United States at the time they were employed, as were many other employees. The count of conviction was representative of McCalla’s hiring and employment practices, Grissom said.
“Any attempt to minimize or excuse this kind of conduct is unacceptable,” Grissom said. “We know these practices are widespread, and investigations similar to the McCalla case are under way.”
For more information about how employers can help with immigration enforcement, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Web site at USCIS Home Page and click on E-verify.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations investigated with the assistance of the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.
Wichita Co. Pleads Guilty To Knowing McDonald's Manager Was UndocumentedWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.
- 12-04-2012, 05:10 PM #2
Feds crackdown on illegal immigrant hiring in Kan.
By ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press
Updated 3:44 p.m., Tuesday, December 4, 2012
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A company that employed illegal immigrants at its McDonald's restaurants in Wichita has been ordered to pay $400,000 as part of a federal crackdown in Kansas on companies that knowingly hire workers who are unlawfully in the United States.
The U.S. attorney's office announced Tuesday that McCalla Corp. had pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly accepting a fraudulent identification document as proof of employment eligibility. Under the settlement, the Wichita-based company paid a $300,000 fine and a $100,000 forfeiture.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom told The Associated Press that the Justice Department has to deal with the realities of budgetary constraints and that it makes sense from a "cost-effective standpoint" to go after the employers.
"If nobody is employing undocumented workers, then we don't have an illegal immigration issue to deal with," he said in a phone interview.
McCalla operates six McDonald's restaurants in Wichita. Investigators found that managers at five of those six restaurants were unlawfully in the country, and that they in turn hired other undocumented workers, Grissom said.
The government estimated that between 20 and 30 illegal immigrants worked at the restaurants between May 2009 and September 2012.
The $100,000 forfeiture represented the "unjust enrichment" the corporation had garnered as a result of hiring illegal immigrants at a reduced rate and not having to payroll taxes such as Social Security, Medicare and other withholding taxes, Grissom said.
McCalla's attorney, Lee Thompson, said the company has already paid the fines, and "is a good corporate citizen and accepts responsibilities for the acts of its employees." He noted that the criminal charge was "very limited" to one incident.
When the firm was first charged in October, McCalla President Roy McCalla said the incident did not reflect his company's policies.
But the U.S. attorney's office said in a statement Tuesday that any attempt to minimize or excuse this kind of conduct is unacceptable. We know these practices are widespread, and investigations similar to the McCalla case are under way."
Grissom declined to say how many such investigations were under way, but said they were in both urban and rural settings.
McCalla is the second Kansas company this year to be prosecuted for knowingly employing illegal immigrants.
In September, the U.S. attorney's office charged the owners of two Clarion hotels — one in Kansas City and the other in Overland Park — after finding half of their employees were illegal immigrants.
The owners, a suburban Kansas City couple, face charges including conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for personal gain. If convicted, they could lose their two hotels, bank accounts and spend decades in prison.
Grissom said going after business owners is more effective than showing up at a job site and arresting illegal immigrant workers, which he said usually results in other undocumented workers replacing them in a few days.
"So the most cost-effective message we can send out is, if you as an employer are knowingly hiring undocumented persons, then we are going to pursue you," Grissom said. "This is going to send a very loud and clear message."
Feds crackdown on illegal immigrant hiring in Kan. - San Antonio Express-NewsWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.