CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A former top manager at Agriprocessors Inc., in Postville, Iowa, pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiring to obtain fake documents for illegal aliens who worked at the plant. The plea is the result of an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Brent Beebe, 52, of Postville, was convicted of conspiring to commit document fraud. His jury trial had been scheduled to begin Tuesday.
In the plea agreement, Beebe admitted he was one of two operations managers at Agriprocessors and that oversaw beef-side production at the facility. The week prior to ICE's May 12, 2008, worksite enforcement operation, Beebe conspired with an Agriprocessors vice president and others to help several employees obtain new fake identification documents.
Beebe obtained $4,500 in cash from the Agriprocessors vice president, which was to be loaned to about 19 beef production employees to pay for new fake documents. A line supervisor used the money to obtain fake documents and then delivered them to Agriprocessors on May 11, 2008. The documents were then used to complete new job application paperwork for several employees.
Sentencing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Beebe remains free on bond pending sentencing. He faces a possible sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.
In related court actions, Chief Judge Reade sentenced two former Agriprocessors human resources employees on Jan. 7. Former human resources manager Elizabeth Billmeyer was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Former human resources assistant Penny Hanson was sentenced to two years' probation.
Two fugitive defendants in the case remain to be prosecuted: Hosam Amara and Zeev Levi.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter Deegan, C.J. Williams, and Matthew Cole are prosecuting this case. The investigation has been led by ICE with assistance from the FBI. Additional assistance was provided by the following agencies: U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa Department of Transportation, Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Waterloo Police Department, and the Postville Police Department.