Howard Industries guilty in immigration raid - - Jackson, MS

Howard Industries guilty in immigration raid

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - One of the state's most successful private companies has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate immigration laws related to the nation's largest workplace raid on illegal immigrants, federal authorities said Thursday.

More than 600 illegal immigrants were detained at Howard Industries electrical transformer plant in Laurel on Aug. 25, 2008.

The U.S. Justice Department said the company had pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court and agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine.

Prosecutors said Howard Industries knowingly hired illegal immigrants and even hired some of them after the Social Security Administration told the company that their Social Security numbers were not valid.

The only individual convicted in the case was Jose Humberto Gonzalez, a human resources director. He has not been sentenced.

Howard Industries' lawyer, Frank Trapp, told The Associated Press in December that Gonzalez was the only company executive who knew the workers were illegal.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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