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01/29/2014

Jacksonville restaurant owner fined $10,000 for hiring illegal aliens

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A federal magistrate judge ordered a Jacksonville restaurant owner Wednesday to pay a $10,000 fine for a pattern of hiring illegal aliens. The fine resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to court documents, in June 2013, HSI special agents arrested four employees of the Peppers 5 Mexican restaurant on Atlantic Boulevard for document fraud after conducting an audit of restaurant’s Form I-9s, which are employment eligibility verification forms. Juan Carlos Angel, 35, owns this restaurant, along with other Peppers 5 locations in Jacksonville.

Based on information gleaned from the audit, HSI special agents determined between approximately March 2011 and 2012, Angel hired employees who were citizens of other countries and not legally permitted to work in the United States at his restaurants. Thereafter, the special agents interviewed Angel, and he admitted to knowingly hiring five illegal aliens not authorized to work in the United States, during those periods.

Angel pleaded guilty to the offenses Oct. 30.