WICHITA, KAN. – A local McDonald's Franchisee has agreed to plead guilty to an immigration charge after a federal investigation showed that the manager of one of its McDonald’s restaurants in Wichita was an undocumented worker, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced on October 31, 2012.
McCalla Corporation, a McDonald’s franchisee with offices at 9342 E. Central in Wichita, was charged today with one felony count of knowingly accepting a fraudulent identification document offered as proof that an employee was eligible to work. As part of the plea agreement, the corporation has agreed to pay a $300,000 fine, and an additional $100,000 forfeiture judgment.
The case is the second time in two months that a Kansas company has been charged with knowingly employing undocumented workers. In the other case, the owners of two hotels in Overland Park, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., were charged with knowingly hiring undocumented workers for housekeeping jobs.
“Employment is the primary driving force behind illegal immigration,” Grissom said. “I’m calling on all Kansas employers to strengthen their hiring practices and to help us safeguard this nation by hiring and maintaining a lawful workforce.”
Employers that try to cut costs and gain an economic advantage over competitors by means of unlawful hiring practices are causing problems in Kansas and across the nation, Grissom said.
“Businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers are putting us all at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. “They are creating a marketplace for unauthorized workers who may resort to presenting false documents to gain employment, completing applications for fraudulent benefits and even stealing the identities of legal U.S. workers.”
According to an agent’s affidavit filed in federal court, the investigation began in February 2011 when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security received information that McCalla Corporation employed undocumented workers. McCalla Corporation owns McDonald’s restaurants in Wichita at 1630 S. Hillside, 11989 E. Kellogg, 501 E. Pawnee, 1219 S. Rock Road, 2418 S. Seneca and 1645 S. Webb Road.
In its agreement to plead guilty, McCalla Corporation admitted that in March 2011 the company’s director of operations became aware that one of its store managers was using a Social Security number not assigned to her. He told the McDonald’s store manager she needed to provide him new documents to confirm her eligibility to work.
Two days later, the store manager presented a resident alien identification card. The director of operations knew the new card was not genuine. He knew that it takes weeks, not just two days, for a foreign national to obtain a resident alien card. Nevertheless, he updated the store manager’s paperwork and McCalla Corporation took no further action concerning her employment. The store manager continued working as a store manager from May 2009 to September 2012.
Grissom said he expects McCalla Corporation to enter the guilty plea within the next three weeks, as the court’s schedule permits.
“ICE is committed to holding businesses accountable when they knowingly hire or retain illegal workers,” said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago. “Employers who willfully violate our nation’s hiring laws gain an unfair economic advantage over law abiding competitors. Our goal is to protect job opportunities for the nation’s legal workers and level the playing field for those businesses that play by the rules.”
For more information about how employers can help with immigration enforcement, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Web site at www.uscis.gov and click on E-verify.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations investigated with the assistance of the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.