Friday, July 18, 2008

Owners of 11 Nevada McDonald’s plead guilty to immigration charges

The owners of 11 McDonald’s restaurants in northern Nevada have pleaded guilty to felony immigration charges – specifically providing illegal aliens with false names and fake Social Security numbers so that they could work in the restaurants.

Attorneys for Mack Associates Inc. pleaded guilty on behalf of the franchise to two felony counts, including conspiracy to encourage an alien's unlawful residence and aiding and abetting an alien to remain in the U.S. Under a plea agreement, the franchise will pay $1 million in fines.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had arrested 56 people in Reno, Sparks and Fernley, Nevada last September.

"This case should serve as a reminder to employers that knowingly hiring illegal aliens violates federal law," said Nevada U.S. Attorney Gregory Brower. "Companies and their managers who engage in such conduct are on notice that violations will be prosecuted and that the criminal penalties can be significant."

The company's operation's director Joe Gillespie, 53, of Sparks, pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting an alien. Jimmy Moore, the franchise's former vice president, pleaded guilty to inducing an illegal alien to remain in the U.S. Both face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines when sentenced by U.S. District Judge James Mahan. Sentencing was set for October.

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