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Worksite Enforcement

St. Louis industrial supply company sentenced for employing illegal aliens

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A local industrial supply company was sentenced Tuesday on charges of employing illegal aliens after pleading guilty in October. The sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Charles County Sheriff's Department.

J & J Industrial Supply Inc. pleaded guilty Oct. 18 to knowingly and intentionally hiring more than 10 illegal aliens in a 12-month period. It appeared Jan. 17 for sentencing before U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber.

As part of the previous plea, J & J Industrial Supply Inc. agreed to forfeit $150,000 and a 2011 Toyota Highlander used to facilitate the illegal activity. The company also received one year of probation, and it paid the $150,000 forfeiture at sentencing.

According to court documents, J & J Industrial Supply Inc., doing business as Industrial Wiping Cloths & Supplies, is a St. Louis business that resells used clothing in bulk quantities to overseas purchasers and produces cleaning rags for domestic customers. It is a labor-intensive business that primarily involves hand-sorting and cutting used clothing. The business retains about 40 employees and is owned by Jerry McArthur.

Since 2008, J & J Industrial Supply Inc. hired illegal aliens, who are not authorized to work in the United States, to supplement its legal workforce. During a 12-month period, the company employed 10 or more illegal aliens. By employing these illegal aliens the company realized proceeds of about $150,000 during the time of the offense.

"Today's sentence should serve as a stern warning to employers who perpetuate a shadow economy by hiring an illegal workforce," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Chicago. "J & J Industrial Supply Inc. knowingly hired illegal workers and circumvented our nation's immigration laws for financial gain. The goal of our enforcement efforts is two-fold – reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect job opportunities for lawful American workers."

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ware, Eastern District of Missouri, prosecuted the case.