top of page

DOJ Charges Restaurant Owners and Managers based on ICE and DOL I-9 Investigation

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

I-9 Investigation at Multiple Restaurants Led to RICO Indictment

The Department of Justice charged nineteen defendants with conspiracy to hire undocumented workers for their restaurants located throughout Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly failed to maintain complete and accurate I-9s, accepted fake documents, and engaged in other illegal employment practices.

Kansas DOL and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)/ICE investigated allegations of unauthorized workers being employed at the Bravos Mexican Grill in Overland Park by conducting an I-9 inspection. Agents discovered that some of the company’s employees were not authorized for employment in the U.S and that the company had multiple I-9 violations. HSI/ICE proceeded to investigate dozens of related restaurants in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma and discovered subsequent Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) violations. ICE has been working with local, state, and federal agencies to pursue employers for IRCA violations and illegal hiring practices. If an employer receives a notice from DOL regarding employees’ I-9s, it is important to be aware that ICE could be involved.

Employers Must Follow IRCA and Understand the I-9 Audit Process

The charges against the owners and managers of these restaurants and related entities could result in hefty fines and lengthy jail sentences. Employers should be trained on the legal requirements for hiring, specifically on the I-9 process. Per Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), all U.S. employers are required to complete Form I-9 for each individual they hire, regardless of citizenship or nationality. If an employer is found to have violated IRCA, they may be subject to fines and/or jail time. To avoid such outcomes, employers should be properly trained and build a compliance system to protect the employer from any potential liability. If you have received a request for your employees’ I-9 forms, please contact your business immigration attorneys for additional guidance.

IRCA Corporate Immigration Compliance Officer Training

I-9 Administration Training

Hadley Bybee

Law Clerk


NOT LEGAL ADVICE: This article is for educational purposes only, it is not legal advice that may be applicable to your situation

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is general information regarding law and policy that may be applicable to your particular HR issue or legal problem. Information provided in this blog, or any of our other public posts, does not create an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice you can rely upon, please contact your attorney.


bottom of page