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Local Fence Company Faces Charges for Hiring Undocumented Workers

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Aired 4/19/09

Two executives of a fence company pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego Thursday morning to knowingly hiring undocumented workers. The Golden State Fence Company and its officials will pay $5 million in fines. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

The case is a rare success story for the federal government in going after employers who hire unauthorized workers.

When Golden State Fence Company President Melvin Kay entered his plea, he said he knew at least 10 employees he hired were undocumented. He was ordered to pay $200,000 for the violation. A manager in the Oceanside office, Michael McLaughlin, was fined $100,000. And the company will forfeit $4.7 million in assets.  

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided the fencing company’s Riverside offices a year ago. It was the third time since 1999 that it was discovered Golden State was employing undocumented workers.

President Kay’s attorney, Richard Hirsch, says the company is now using a government database to make sure all workers’ Social Security numbers are valid. Sentencing is scheduled for late March. Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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