Fancy SoCal Bistro Hit By I-9 ICEberg; Owner Pleads Guilty, Faces Sentencing In December

"The owner of one of San Diego’s most established dining rooms and high-end bakeries, The French Gourmet, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to the longtime practice of hiring undocumented workers."

San Diego Union-Tribune, Oct. 13, 2011.

“They’re using a body of law intended for drug dealers and money launderers and going after an iconic bakery and philanthropic business,” Jot Condie, the president of the California Restaurant Association, told Sarah Kershaw of The New York Times last year. “If their strategy is to get the attention of the industry, mission accomplished.”

New York Times, Oct. 14, 2011.

"In conjunction with the guilty pleas, The French Gourmet and Malecot agreed to forfeit the illicit proceeds gained from the bakery's illegal hiring practices. Although the total financial penalty is expected to be between $350,000 and $650,000, the exact amount of the forfeiture and fine will be determined by U.S. District Judge Thomas J. Whelan at a sentencing hearing December 19.  Kauffmann faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. Malecot faces a maximum of six months in custody and a fine of $3,000 per illegal alien worker."

ICE, Oct. 14, 2011.