Penasquitos car wash owners plead guilty to hiring illegals
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The operators of a Rancho Penasquitos car wash pleaded guilty to felony charges of knowingly employing illegal immigrants, federal officials announced Thursday.
Ju Hea Kim, 54, and Sun Jae Lee, 51, admitted before U.S. Magistrate Judge William Gallo in San Diego to hiring 10 or more illegal immigrants within a 12-month period, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.
According to court documents, Kim, owner of Betty’s Car Wash in the 9800 block of Carmel Mountain Road, and Lee, its manager, knowingly employed illegal immigrants during a four-year period.
The plea deal calls for Kim to forfeit $85,610 to the federal government.
According to the agreement, federal prosecutors will recommend an eight- month prison sentence for Lee at sentencing, while Kim will face revocation of his visa and deportation to South Korea. The plea agreement also recommends that Kim and Lee each pay a fine.
Kim and Lee admitted having known that the illegal immigrants they hired were not U.S. citizens and that the workers had entered the United States illegally. Kim and Lee also conceded that they had acted with the intent of violating U.S. immigration laws.
Kim and Lee were arrested in October, following an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel.
Kim is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 17, and Lee on April 2, both before U.S. District Judge Barry Moskowitz.
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