Huge Mississippi Immigration Bust Nets Fine and Probation

In what was described as the largest immigration bust of its kind in the United States, the company, Howard Industries, paid a $2.5 million fine and its human resources director, Jose Gonzalez, received probation and house arrest. More than 600 illegal workers were arrested in the 2008 raid on Howard Industries.

Gonzalez faced a 25 count indictment, one count of conspiracy and 24 counts of fraud in hiring the illegal immigrants. He faced 5 years on the conspiracy charge and 10 years on each of the fraud counts. Gonzalez was allowed to plead to one count of conspiracy and was sentenced to probation and house arrest. That’s some fine lawyering right there.

As a criminal defense lawyer, I have long advocated such sentences in non-violent criminal cases. I do find it intriguing, however, that the sentence was imposed only after Howard Industries paid the $2.5 million fine. As a practical matter, not every criminal defendant can afford to pay such a fine. It just makes me wonder if the average, working Mississippi citizen would be offered this same deal?

Charles R. “Chuck” Mullins has represented Mississippians in federal and state court for over 16 years. Read more about Chuck on his website.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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