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300 Now Convicted & Sentenced Following May Arrests In Postville

rubashkin3.gifUnited States Attorney Matt M. Dummermuth announced today that 300 of the 389 people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 12, 2008, at Agriprocessors, Inc. in Postville, Iowa, have now pled guilty and been sentenced on federal felony charges.

“Based on the number of criminal convictions, this is the largest criminal worksite enforcement operation ever in the United States,” said Dummermuth.

By May 22, 2008, 297 of those defendants had been sentenced. Since then, three other defendants – Olena Chehovska, 59, from Ukraine; Nehemias DeMatta-Popol, 23, from Guatemala; and Reynaldo Lopez-Nunez, 28, from Mexico – have pled guilty and been sentenced to 5 months’ imprisonment and 3 years’ supervised release for use of false identification to obtain employment after admitting the use of an actual person’s identity.

A fourth defendant, Osbaldo Lopez-Becerra, 25, from Mexico, has pled guilty to two criminal charges and is awaiting sentencing.

Four other cases, including two filed this week, are pending. As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The criminal convictions have resulted in the following dispositions:

• 233 defendants sentenced to 5 months’ prison and 3 years’ supervision for use of false identification to obtain employment after admitting the use of an actual person’s identity;

• 30 defendants sentenced to 5 months’ prison and 3 years’ supervision for false use of social security number or card after admitting the use of an actual person’s social security number;

• 8 defendants sentenced to 5 months’ prison and 1 year supervision for illegal reentry to the United States;

• 2 defendants sentenced to 12 months’ and a day prison and 3 years’ supervision for use of false identification to obtain employment after admitting the use of an actual person’s identity;

• 21 defendants sentenced to 5 years’ probation for use of false identification to obtain employment where identification did not belong to an actual person;

• 2 defendants sentenced to 5 years’ probation for false use of social security number or card where number did not belong to an actual person; and

• 4 defendants sentenced to 5 years’ probation for illegal reentry to the United States.

The investigation led by ICE is ongoing. Other agencies that have assisted in the investigation include the United States Postal Inspection Service; Iowa Department of Public Safety; Iowa Department of Transportation; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations; and United States Department of Labor.

(Eli Gefen / Lipas – YWN)

19 Responses

  1. The US governments turning a blind eye to this problem has certainly contributed to the lackadaisical attitude of many companies towards illegal employees.

  2. I can’t tell you whether management had a clue or not. to my knowledge there is no law that requires an employer to verify if the ss # supplied by the employee is valid or not.

  3. it’s not always if the management had a clue or not. Of course they knew a lot of their workers were illegals.

    BUT, how are they supposed to prove it? If the papers look in order, are how much effort are they supposed to put in? If they put in more effort then usual for their mostly hispanic workers to see if they are legal or not is that racism? would people scream racism either way? Is it even their place to verify the documents as authentic?

    The main negative point is not that they hired illegals, but that they perhaps took advantage of the the probability that they were illegal to mistreat the workers (i.e. if you are an illegal, not going to run to govt to protest mistreatment)

  4. You’re all forgetting one small point, if they would NOT have been hired, there would have been a discrimination lawsuit, so you can’t win.

  5. #5. as long as the employee provides what appears to be proper documentation, it is NOT the employer’s responsibility to verify that the documents are proper. that is the province of ICE.

    HOWEVER, they knew the employees were illegal. they used that particular piece of information to fight a vote to unionize in brooklyn 2 years ago. baxically their claim was ‘these employees for the most part are illegal immigrants so their votes should not be counted’. they knew.

  6. Abba,
    Typical of Sammygoul. He attacks others & then when he’s taken to task for his elitist thinly veiled anti-Torah view he rolls up into the fetal position and yells no fair.

  7. As an HR Director, I can tell you that ALL employees are required to complete an I-9 form on their first day of work. This is a form provided by INS-i.e. Homeland Security to verify citizenship or visa status, etc.. and show proof of original documents supporting the information on the form. A list of acceptable documents are provided by INS (Immigration). The employer signs off on the form that to the best of their knowledge the document(s) provided look authentic. They aren’t required to do any more than that.

  8. It is not the same thing a private person hiring a cleaning lady and not checking ID. However, a major corporation, such as AGRI Processors/Rubashkin IS Required to check, and keep records. If you have multiple employees using the same Social Security number, is that not a clue?!?!

    The hiring of children is not excusable at all, especially having them work a long 14 to 16 hour day.

    Workers were separated BEFORE their interviews, and many told the same stories. They did not have opportunities to go over the stories with each other. The stories they told, may not be “Verified Truths” …. but are hard to not believe, considering the methods used to obtain them. Too many told identical stories, who did not see each other from the time of the raid.

    There are other horrific accusations, but not enough evidence, so we can be dan l’kav zchus. But the main accusations are hard to dispute.

    So? What does this have to do with kashrush?

    It has to do with nehmonus! The denials, both by management and by the rav hamachshir, make both people who we need to think twice about believing.

    There if also a simply matter of the chillul hashem, and the mean-spirited nature of what they did. Even if the food were to be technically kosher, would YOU want to eat food from such a company?

    But, with the mean things done, and the mean things said by management about the Yeshivish World who dares to question them ….. and the flat, outright denials by MM Weismandl, I for one, will no longer eat their products.

  9. There is no “discrimination lawsuit” if the person is not eligible to work. You are allowed (and should) ask during the interview if they have any work restrictions of any kind, (legal, physical, etc..) and if so, what they are AND DOCUMENT THE RESPONSE.

  10. #10 – From 2003 – 2006 the Social Security Admin. informed Rubashkin that they had over 500 discrepancies in their Social Security filing, basically numbers that didn’t match employees, multiple employees using the same number, etc…

    So at that point, they were required to investigate further.

  11. Just one question, for all those doubters on how much knowledge management had of their illegal status, does anyone know if any management employees were convicted of hiring illegals??? I haven’t heard anything-correct me if I’m wrong. Wouldn’t you think that INS would go after the “big fish” if they had something on them? 300 convictions for all the illegals from Mexico but not one for the big corporate executives??? Do you realize that corporations rely on a “shem tov” to exist. Maybe we should back off of Rubashkin and all the bnei torah whose parnassah is now in jeopardy until we know hard fact.

  12. Having worked as a bookkeeper and with management with a frum business I can tell you first hand that the management had clues. There is paperwork that the Social Security dept,INS and IRS require for each employee to be filled out. S/He must either be a citizen or a legal alien with green card. ID includes birth certificate,passport,greencard,original (not copy) of SS card,picture ID. When the info is submitted to IRS,a letter will be sent to the employer if something is amiss. They will tell you that the number and name do not match.Other times,they will send inspectors in and randomly ask workers for ID’ s and ask the payroll bookkeeper to show if this individual is actually on the books. There is no way a boss could not know .

  13. bacci40 & sammygol,
    I am glad that you are consistant in your open “hatred” of another Yids company.

    I would not want to check out your pekel, but as usual, when it comes to yenem, you are first to jump on them and point out why they are wrong and no one should support them.

    With freinds like you ….

  14. does anyone know what happened with the shochet who’s visa had expired or something and apparently blamed his lawyer for not renewing ?

  15. Can anyone please explain what the point is of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and still reporting their earning to IRS? The employer still needs to pay taxes for them. Plus, they would knowingly submit stolen social security numbers to a government agency? Does anyone else see how this does not make sense???

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