WICHITA, Kan. — A Wichita restaurant company pleaded guilty in federal court to hiring illegal aliens to work on a local bar and restaurant.
This guilty plea resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, the Kansas Department of Labor, the Kansas Department of Revenue and the Wichita Police Department.
The guilty plea was entered in federal court by a lawyer for Le Grande Tetons, LLC, the company that owned and operated Twin Peaks, a bar and restaurant with two locations in Wichita. As a result of a plea agreement in the case, the court imposed a fine of $50,000. Companies or persons who engage in a pattern or practice of employing unauthorized aliens can be fined up to $3,000 for each person so employed.
According to the plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas has agreed not to pursue any additional charges against the owners, current employees or former employees of Le Grande Tetons, LLC, with the exception of two former management employees who remain under federal investigation.
In September 2013 HSI conducted a Form I-9 audit at the Twin Peaks locations and identified more than 20 unauthorized workers employed primarily in the kitchen area of one of the restaurants. A Twin Peaks manager agreed to fire the employees immediately, but HSI received word several months later than many of the same employees had been rehired. Federal search warrants were executed at both Wichita Twin Peaks locations in July.
Le Grande Tetons, LLC, is in the process of selling its Twin Peaks location and franchise.