News & Resources

Criminal impersonation runs rampant at Dairy

Jun 11, 2011 Brian Bradley

A routine Homeland Security review of employment eligibility forms for workers at Wildcat Dairy in Fort Morgan, Colorado, revealed that 53 employees - or 89 percent of the company's workforce - lacked authorization to work in the United States. Fox News Latino reports that 20 of the employees were issued indictments under accusations that they used false means of identity authentication, such as social security and registration cards, to gain employment. "The fact that 89 percent of their employees weren't eligible to work indicates we have a serious issue - they're not checking employees," Bob Watson, Colorado district attorney, told KMGH-TV. "However, I am not in a position to do much about it since that is a federal issue and not a state issue." Of the 20 offenders, 17 are from Mexico, one is from El Salvador, one is from Honduras and one is from Guatemala. Deputies arrested 11 of them last week, and they are currently being held at the Morgan County jail without bail. The other nine remain at large. The owner of Wildcat, who wished to remain nameless, explained that he only began using the web-based E-Verify program that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States a couple of months ago. He confirmed that each worker filled out an I-9 employment eligibility verification form, but admitted that most of them did not get checked through E-Verify. The owner will likely not face any state charges for his negligence, as businesses in Colorado are not required by law to use E-Verify, except those that provide state jobs and public contracting positions. David Marwell, the special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told Fox News Latino that it is important to keep government-issued credentials out of the hands of forgers, as they can use sophisticated equipment to create "high quality false documents." "Criminal impersonation is a rapidly growing crime with unrealized financial costs, undue stress on innocent victims, and the potential for significant ongoing civil and criminal legal issues," Dave Martin, undersheriff of Morgan County, told KMGH-TV. A homeowner who had been renting rooms to two of the workers for nearly a year was unaware of the employees' involvement. "I'm surprised," Jesus Avallos told KUSA-TV. "They seemed like nice people. I never asked them for papers or anything."