Update: The US Attorney's office says McCalla Corporation has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of knowingly accepting a fraudulent identifcication document as proof that an employee was eligible to work.
As part of a plea agreement, McCalla agreed to pay a $300,000 fine and an additional $100,000 forfeiture judgment.
Original Story, October 31
The owners of a Wichita McDonald's restaurant face a $400,000 fine for knowingly hiring an undocumented worker. The U.S. Attorney's office filed the charge Wednesday in federal court.
According to court documents, the woman in question worked as a manager at this McDonald's near harry and Hillside. She started working there in 2009 and no longer works for the McCalla Corporation, which owns the restaurant. Her immigration status is not known. McCalla owns six McDonald's restaurants in Wichita.
"If no one is hiring undocumented workers, then there is no incentive for an undocumented to come to Kansas," said US Attorney Barry Grissom.
Grissom wants to send that message to other Kansas employers.
"In March of 2011, the company's Director of Operation became aware that one of the stores managers was using a social security number that was not assigned to her," Grissom said.
Grissom says the worker then provided another false document, which the company accepted even though it was also knowingly false. Grissom suggests other workers did the same thing.
"Could we have made this a much larger indictment, I believe so," Grissom said.
"We understand that there was other information, but we investigated it and the McCalla corporation was only willing to plead to the one count," said Lee Thompson, the attorney for the McCalla Corporation. "We believe that was the only one that met the standard of truth and provability."
Thompson says the McCalla Corporation cooperated with the investigation and has taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"By agreeing to this single count, it recognizes that the corporation is responsible for the acts of its employees," Thompson said. "That's true even if the employee does not follow company policy."
A federal judge still has to approve this plea agreement. Grissom says that should happen in about three weeks.