SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The operators of a Rancho Penasquitos car wash were arraigned in federal court Thursday on charges of knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants.
Ju Hea Kim, 54, and Sun Jae Lee, 51, are charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, an offense that carries a possible sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for each defendant, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego.
Kim and Lee, the owner and manager, of Betty's Car Wash in the 9800 block of Carmel Mountain Road, were arrested Wednesday during a search of the business. Alleged undocumented immigrants found working there were detained as material witnesses in the case.
According to prosecutors, the majority of those employed by the defendants lacked legal documentation that would allow them to work in the United States. Additionally, Kim and Lee allegedly hired back two employees who were deported while working at the car wash and then returned to the country illegally.
In April, the complaint alleges, Kim instructed two employees to hide because immigration officials had shown up at the business.
The defendants are scheduled to be in court again on Monday, before U.S.Magistrate Judge William Gallo.