Feds Arrest Owners Of 15 Restaurants On Immigration, Tax Crimes
Federal agents arrested the father-son owners of a popular string of restaurants in Arizona and California, Wednesday morning. They are accused of hiring illegal immigrants and paying them under the table.
The government alleges that the father, Mark Evenson, ordered his employees not to run the personal information of illegal immigrant employee through government databases or the federal agents would quote, "come and pick them up."
The accountant for Chuy's Mesquite Broilers was also arrested. The trio is accused of hiring illegal immigrants to work behind the scenes in the kitchen while legal employees worked the floor.
Matt Allen is the agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations in Arizona.
"This case is a very good example of how we refined our strategy and try to focus on employers right up front during the course of the investigation," he said.
ICE and the IRS served warrants at all 15 restaurants the pair owned in Arizona and California.
US Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke said this was unlike other immigration raids.
"It's focusing on who we believe the attention should be targeted towards, the employers," Burke said.
40 suspected illegal immigrants were also detained and are being investigated.
"This scheme had been going on for several years so how many actual undocumented employees they had during that period of time will be much higher than that," Burke said.
Efforts to reach the suspects or their attorneys were unsuccessful.
Other franchises in the Chuys chain have not been accused in this investigation.