CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The former CEO of Agriprocessors Inc., was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents Thursday and charged with criminal violations of immigration law. The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Matt M. Dummermuth, Northern District of Iowa.
Sholom Rubashkin, 49, of Postville, Iowa, is charged with conspiring to harbor illegal aliens for profit, aiding and abetting document fraud, and aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft. The charges are contained in a complaint filed today in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids.
The complaint alleges that the week before a May 12, 2008, ICE enforcement operation at Agriprocessors in Postville, Rubashkin - then the CEO of Agriprocessors - loaned $4,500 in $100 bills to employees who were known to have bad identification documents. Agriprocessors supervisors later allegedly distributed money to illegal alien employees so that they could purchase new, fake lawful permanent resident cards ("green cards") under different names.
The complaint says an Agriprocessors foreman arranged the purchase of the documents, and that Rubashkin allegedly asked human resources employees to work Sunday afternoon, May 11, to complete new application paperwork for several people. According to the complaint, approximately 96 fake permanent resident cards and application paperwork were seized from the human resources offices the following day. The complaint alleges that approximately 90 of the fake permanent resident cards contained resident alien numbers that were assigned to other people. The following day ICE agents arrested 389 illegal alien workers at Agriprocessors.
Rubashkin was arrested this morning without incident at his home in Postville by ICE agents and appeared this afternoon in federal court in Cedar Rapids. He was released on the conditions that he wear a GPS ankle bracelet, limit his travel to the Northern District of Iowa, surrender his and his wife's passport, and provide a $1 million appearance bond with $500,000 to be secured by Nov. 5, 2008. Rubashkin waived his right to a preliminary hearing and the case was bound over for consideration by a grand jury.
If convicted, Rubashkin faces a possible maximum penalty on the conspiracy charge of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and three years of supervised release. On the document fraud charge, he faces a possible maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and three years of supervised release. On the aggravated identity theft charge, he faces a mandatory consecutive two years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and one year of supervised release.
As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Peter Deegan, C.J. Williams and Matthew Cole, and was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.