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Premier Paving Inc. (PPI), a Denver-based corporation, was sentenced to forfeit nearly $185,000 in criminal proceeds for its criminal practice of hiring undocumented workers. The forfeited money will go to the Department of Transportation federal highway fund as some of the undocumented workers performed work on federal transportation projects.

At approximately the same time, late January 2014, Juan Carlos Angel, owner of several Peppers Mexican Grill & Cantina locations in Jacksonville, Florida, who had previously pled guilty to engaging in a pattern of hiring undocumented workers, was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for hiring five undocumented workers.

PPI Hires Undocumented Workers and Settles with ICE for $11,000 in Penalties
According to the plea agreement with PPI, the investigation began in 2007 when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audited PPI's employment records and found it had committed violations of hiring employees not authorized to work in the U.S. PPI knowingly hired and continued to employ workers who were not authorized to work because they did not possess the documents required by law to complete an I-9 form. In 2008, PPI and ICE entered into a settlement agreement whereby PPI paid $11,000 in penalties and would only “hire only U.S. citizens and aliens authorized to work in the United States."

PPI Continued to Employ Undocumented Workers - Forfeits $185,000
Despite the 2008 agreement, PPI began working with an employment agency, “Servicios de Migracion Para Todos.” (“Immigration Services for Everyone”) and continued to employ workers who were not authorized to work in the U.S. Another review by ICE in September 2012 determined that the company employed unauthorized workers, and failed to adequately complete I-9 forms for a number of employees hired between January 1, 2011 and September 20, 2012.

Owner of Restaurants Guilty of Hiring Undocumented Workers and Pays $10,000 fine
In the Peppers Mexican Grill & Cantina case, in June 2013, ICE agents arrested four employees for document fraud after conducting an inspection of the restaurant’s Form I-9s, pursuant to a Notice of Inspection. Based on information gathered from the inspection, ICE agents determined Juan Carlos Angel hired five employees who were undocumented and not legally permitted to work in the United States. Thus, Angel pled guilty and paid a $10,000 fine. A copy of the Factual Basis and Plea Agreements are available here .