February 12, 2010 - Cincinnati firm fined at conclusion of worksite investigation

CINCINNATI - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that Koch Foods of Cincinnati LLC paid a $536,046 fine for administrative violations of U.S. immigration laws.

The ICE Office of Investigations in Cincinnati conducted a worksite investigation of Koch Foods after receiving information from a concerned citizen alleging that the company was employing more than 100 illegal aliens at their poultry processing facility in the Cincinnati area. In August 2007, ICE subsequently executed a search warrant at Koch's Fairfield, Ohio, processing facility and arrested 161 illegal aliens and seized relevant documents. ICE also executed a search warrant at Koch's corporate offices in Chicago seizing relevant documents.

Employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This form requires employers to review and record the individual's identity document(s) and determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and related to the individual. The fine relates to I-9 violations at Koch's Fairfield, Ohio, facility. The company has cooperated with ICE in the investigation employing the use of E-Verify and ensuring that its policies and procedures are in compliance with legal requirements.

"Employers have a responsibility to hire men and women who are authorized to work in the United States and fines are an important component of ensuring their compliance," said Brian Moskowitz, Special Agent in Charge of ICE Office of Investigations in Michigan and Ohio. "The significant civil fines leveled here represent ICE's firm commitment to holding employers accountable."

ICE issued a Notice of Intent to Fine in the specified amount on Feb. 8. The Final Order was issued and fine paid on February 9 in Cleveland. The company has implemented measures revising its hiring and immigration compliance program, and has established new procedures to prevent future violations of federal immigration laws, which includes the removal of the individual employed as the human resource manager during the time period surrounding the violations.

In April 2009, ICE implemented a new comprehensive strategy to reduce the demand for illegal employment and to protect employment opportunities for the nation's lawful workforce. Under this strategy, ICE is focusing its resources on the auditing and investigation of employers suspected of cultivating and knowingly employing illegal aliens in the workplace.

ICE commends the Butler County Sheriff's Office, the West Chester and Fairfield Police Departments, and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of the Inspector General for their invaluable assistance in the investigation. In addition, ICE would like to recognize the West Chester and Fairfield Fire Departments for their assistance in ensuring the safety of the officers and illegal aliens present during the warrant execution.

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