HR Manager Sentenced for Immigration Offenses
On March 3, in a Southern Mississippi federal court an HR manager was sentenced to six months home detention in a criminal proceeding that involved violation of federal immigration laws in the employment of undocumented workers. Jose Gonzalez had pled guilty in December 2009 to hiring hundreds of illegal aliens while serving as human resources manager for Howard Industries in Laurel, Mississippi. Although facing up to five years in prison, federal judge Keith Starrett decided home detention was a more appropriate penalty than imprisonment for Gonzalez. He was also fined $4000 for his actions. Howard Industries had already paid a $2.5 million fine for its role in these immigration employment offenses.
Although over 600 employees of Howard Industries proved to be illegal, they all presented documentation which federal prosecutors claimed were clearly fraudulent and should not have been relied upon. Continuing to hire workers after Social Security verifications failed to pass muster established the required knowledge that led to criminal prosecution. The court discounted Gonzalez’ defense that he was just doing what his superiors ordered.
USA v. Gonzalez, 2:09-cr-00009, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
Larry Bridgesmith, Of Counsel
Miller & Martin PLLC
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