Thursday, April 21, 2011

ICE Raids in Arizona Lead to Arrests of Restaurant Workers and Owners (Fox News)

ICE Raids in Arizona Lead to Arrests of Restaurant Workers and Owners

Published April 21, 2011


A total of 40 workers, presumably undocumented immigrants, and the owners of a Mexican restaurant chain were arrested Wednesday in raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

At daybreak, ICE and IRS agents carried out synchronized raids on 15 restaurants of the Chuy's Mesquite Broiler chain, 14 of them in Arizona and one in California. Vincent Picard, the ICE spokesman in Arizona, told Efe that 40 workers were arrested in the operation.

"Some of them might serve as witnesses in the case," he said.

The spokesman said that ICE lends a hand to workers who have small children and no family member to look after them. In a press release, ICE said that Mark Evenson, son Christopher Evenson and their accountant, Diane Strehlow, face charges that include intentionally hiring undocumented immigrants in a conspiracy to cheat the IRS.

"For nearly two years, these defendants are alleged to have knowingly dodged hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes in order to maintain an illegal work force," U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke said.

"There should be no place in our economy for employers who cynically exploit and defy the U.S. tax code to take advantage of illegal labor," the prosecutor said.

According to the charge, the Evensons hired undocumented workers to work in their restaurant kitchens. The chain paid undocumented immigrants under the table without paying taxes to the IRS, while their legal employees were remunerated and their taxes deducted on the company payroll.

Prosecutors estimate that Chuy's cheated the government out of $400,000 in federal taxes. ICE said that during fiscal year 2010, charges were brought against 180 business owners, managers and supervisors for breaking federal immigration laws.

No comments: