Tuesday, August 30, 2011

AZ Company Fined $600K for Hiring Illegal Aliens - Gunrunner Connection

This appears to be a story that is the victim of what is known as the "Friday news dump." Stories that a White House, or anyone really, wishes to prevent from gaining much traction in the news cycle are released on Friday afternoon. This story was announced last Friday, August 26th, by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona. The earliest media report of this story that I can find was posted online at 3:13PM CST on Friday the 26th by Arizona TV Station, KOLD.

Here's the press release from the DOJ:

TUCSON, Ariz. – On August 26, 2011, Eurofresh Inc., a large tomato producer in Southern Arizona, pleaded guilty and was sentenced for knowingly hiring and engaging in a pattern and practice of employing unauthorized aliens. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the court issued a criminal forfeiture judgment against the company for $600,000. The company will also be required to remain on probation for five years until the judgment is satisfied in full.

"This judgment is a message to other employers who engage in illegal practices that there is a real cost to their actions," said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. "We will continue to work with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security to ensure our nation's laws are followed."

"Through the hard work and dedication of ICE and the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eurofresh will be paying a significant penalty for circumventing our laws," said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Arizona. "Easy access to employment is a clear driver for illegal immigration into the United States, and by holding companies responsible for their criminal behavior, we will reduce that draw."

According to the factual basis of the plea, from August 2000 through December 2006, Eurofresh Inc., through its former human resources director, knowingly hired, and continued to employ in southern Arizona at least 17 supervisory level employees despite the company's human resources director's actual knowledge that these employees were unauthorized by law to work in the United States. The parties further agreed that, for the purposes of the plea agreement, Eurofresh Inc. received $600,000 as direct proceeds from this unlawful conduct.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona, Tucson.

The motivation for the Obama administration not wanting this story to gain any traction in the mainstream media is because it could damage his "relationship" with the Hispanic vote to which they often eagerly pander.

Also, it may be worth noting that U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke, quoted in the press release above, resigned today:

PHOENIX – Dennis Burke, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, has delivered his letter of resignation to President Obama.

In an email to staff, Burke said:

"The work in every corner of this office – your work – has been significant and impressive. When I first came to this office a decade ago as a line AUSA (Assistant United States Attorney), I knew this was an excellent office and did important work."

Burke added, "My long tenure in public service has been intensely gratifying. It has also been intensely demanding. For me, it is the right time to move on to pursue other aspects of my career and my life and allow the office to move ahead.

Burke was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona in 2009. His resignation is effective immediately.

Ann Scheel will serve as Acting United States Attorney, under the Vacancies Reform Act and by virtue of her position as First Assistant. Burke added, "I thank Ann for agreeing to assume these responsibilities until the Attorney General or the President makes an interim or permanent appointment."

U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke is also involved in the botched "Project Gunrunner" scandal that originated in Phoenix, AZ.