McPherson, KS Gas Station Owners Plead Guilty to Harboring—Facing Jail Time and Asset Seizure
Owners of the Route 56 Express gas station pleaded guilty to employing undocumented workers and face a five year prison sentence (each) as well as forfeiture of their assets.
Mr. and Ms. Patel owned a gas station in McPherson, Kansas along Route 56 and employed unauthorized workers to run the store. Inspectors from the Kansas Alcohol Beverage Control staked out the gas station and found that employees of the establishment were selling tobacco products to minors. The investigators found that the employees were also not legally in the United States and not authorized to work here, so they contacted federal investigators who assisted in preparing federal indictments June 2015.
The owners pleaded guilty to hiring unauthorized workers, and as part of the plea agreement, they forfeited over $700,000 worth of their assets, which included cash, bank account funds, and gold. In addition to the forfeited assets, the guilty pleas entered by the couple can mean up to 5 years in jail as well as $250,000 fine.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Social Security Administration (SSA), Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL), Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR), and the McPherson Police Department worked together to indict and convict the owners of Route 56 Express.
Interagency cooperation is common in worksite enforcement investigations. Local, state, and federal agencies share information to investigate and eventually indict employers for noncompliance with immigration regulations, as well as tax and labor regulations. Many employers do not recognize this fact and do not receive training on how to respond to state or federal audit notices, a problem that can possibly lead to liability for employers.
The first step to avoid liability for violations of immigration regulations and, therefore, any run-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is to train your human resources managers and any one in the hiring process to understand what compliance requires. Upcoming training dates can be found here!
Danielle Atchison Business Immigration Lawyer MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM 7007 College Blvd., Ste. 460 | Overland Park, KS 66211 Phone :: 913.317.6200 Email:: DAtchison@uslegalimmigration.com