Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Illegal immigration: Firm's owner gets 10 months for hiring undocumented workers - latimes.com

Illegal immigration: Firm's owner gets 10 months for hiring undocumented workers - latimes.com

A Rancho Cucamonga furniture company owner was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants, federal officials said Tuesday.

Rick M. Vartanian, 57, of Ladera Ranch had been convicted of obstruction of justice and employing illegal immigrants at his company, Brownwood Furniture.

Along with the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Gary Fees on Monday ordered Vartanian to pay a $15,000 fine.

In 2009, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano directed immigration officials to focus their worksite enforcement resources on the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. In fiscal year 2010, a record 180 business owners, employers and managers were charged with illegal hiring, up from 114 in fiscal 2009 and 135 the previous year.

Also in fiscal 2010, immigration officials conducted more than 2,200 employer audits, up from more than 1,400 in fiscal 2009.

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