Company Targeted in Immigrant Raid Fined $80,000

Company Targeted in Immigrant Raid Fined $80,000

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Provo company that was the target of a raid by immigration agents was fined $80,000 for harboring illegal aliens.

Champion Safe Co. principal owner and president Ray Crosby pleaded guilty on behalf of the company in federal court last November.

"There's a lot of burden placed on small employers today," Crosby said Tuesday at Tuesday's sentencing.

At the time of the raid, he said he was not an expert on federal immigration laws and hiring practices, but is now.

He pledged to "abide to the letter of the law" in all future hiring and employment practices.

Federal prosecutors earlier agreed in the plea bargain to recommend the $80,000 fine and three years probation. During the probationary period, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will be able to inspect employment documents without any prior notice to the company.

Immigration agents raided the business in February 2003 and detained 107 employees, most of whom were from Mexico. No employees were prosecuted, but most were deported.

Prosecutors said evidence showed the company knew it was hiring undocumented workers.

It said that at a Cinco de Mayo company picnic in 2002, Crosby thanked employees for "crossing the river."

Two years earlier, the company was notified by the government that about 15 of its employees were working with incorrect or fraudulent Social Security numbers, but the company did nothing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Pead said the company rather than its president was charged because the illegal hiring was "more corporate fault than the fault of Mr. Crosby."

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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