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10/29/2008

Agriprocessors human resources employee pleads guilty to harboring illegal aliens, aggravated identity theft

CEDAR RAPIDS, S.D. - A human resources employee who worked for Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville, Iowa, pleaded guilty here Wednesday to harboring illegal aliens and aggravated identity theft. U.S. Attorney Matt M. Dummermuth, Northern District of Iowa, announced the plea, which resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Laura Louise Althouse, 38, of Postville, Iowa, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens and one count of aggravated identity theft. Althouse faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison and a possible maximum sentence of 12 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, $200 in special assessments, and four years of supervised release.

According to documents filed in federal court, Althouse conspired with others to harbor illeal aliens at her place of employment in Postville. The documents state that she harbored the aliens for commercial advantage and private financial gain. The Information also states Althouse possessed and used, without lawful authority, a resident alien number that was assigned to another person in committing the harboring offense.

Sentencing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Althouse remains free on bond pending sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter Deegan, C.J. Williams, and Matt Cole, Northern District of Iowa, prosecuted this case.