As usual, the Iowa Independent's Lynda Waddington does a great job of dealing with complex material:
Agriprocessors HR manager faces charges
Feds deliver yet another superseding indictment against plant, Rubashkin and former employees
LYNDA WADDINGTON, Iowa Independent
Two immigration-related charges were filed today against a former Agriprocessors human resources manager who had previously been unscathed by the multitude of federal indictments since a massive May 2008 immigration raid at the plant in Postville.
Elizabeth Billmeyer, 48, of Postville is facing one count of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for profit and one count of knowingly accepting false resident alien cards. The charges were outlined in documents filed today with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.
The documents allege that, during at least five years preceding the immigration raid, Billmeyer conspired with others to harbor illegal aliens at Agriprocessors for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain. During the same time period, she is also believed to have knowingly accepted false resident alien identification cards.
If convicted on the charges, Billmeyer faces a possible maximum of 20 years in prison, a $500,000 fine and a $200 special assessment. In addition she could face a maximum of six years of supervised release following any prison term. Billmeyer was also named in a state suit alleging more than 9,000 counts of child labor law violations.
In addition to the charges against Billmeyer, the U.S. attorney’s office also filed an amended 79-count superseding indictment against Agriprocessors, Inc., former Agriprocessors executive Sholom Rubashkin and several plant managers. The new document adds factual allegations to a previous indictment, deletes two previously charged counts and consolidates several previously charged counts.
The new indictment includes one count of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for profit, one count of harboring undocumented aliens for profit, one count of conspiracy to commit document fraud, one count of aiding and abetting document fraud, seven counts of aggravated identity theft, 14 counts of bank fraud, 24 counts of making false statements to a bank, 10 counts of money laundering and 20 counts of willfully violating an order of the U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary.
Both Rubashkin and Brent Beebe, a plant supervisor, appeared previously before the court and were released on several conditions that included electronic monitoring. Arraignments on the new indictment have not yet be set.
Federal prosecutors indicate that the investigation, which began in October 2007, remains ongoing.
The Agriprocessors plant, once the largest employer in the Postville area, was the site of a federal raid that netted 389 workers on immigration-related charges. Most were tried and convicted of criminal wrongdoing and were sentenced to federal prison time prior to deportation. The plant never financially recovered from the raid and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November. A bankruptcy auction that began on March 23 did not resolve disputes between potential buyers and creditors.
The bankruptcy trustee, Joseph Sarachek, is expected to appear before a federal judge this week to present either an amicable sale or alternative funding plan.