Michigan (Tresa Baldas and Tammy Stables Battaglia-Detroit Free Press) – Federal agents arrested a manager at a cardboard box company in southwest Detroit, Monday, on charges he hired undocumented workers.
Edward Schlacht, 48, a supervisor at Grigg Box Company, was taken into custody this morning by agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The arrest came as agents executed a federal search warrant at the cardboard box company, whose hiring practices are under investigation.
Schlact’s arrest, authorities said, is the culmination of an investigation that began in February, when an HSI audit of the company’s hiring records identified 35 employees who used suspected counterfeit documents to get their jobs.
According to the affidavit, after HSI notified the company about the suspicious documents, Grigg Box Company wrote back, stating that the employees in question had been fired.
However, a subsequent surveillance operation of the premises revealed that a “terminated” employee still worked at the company, authorities said.
Additionally, through the use of a confidential informant, HSI agents recorded Schlacht in the process of hiring an individual who admitted he was not authorized to work. This individual was later paid by Schlacht in the form of an official payroll check from the company, the affidavit said.
Schlacht is expected to make an initial appearance in federal court at 1 p.m. today.
He is charged with knowingly accepting false documentation in the course of hiring undocumented workers.
If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
“Employers who evade the law not only fuel the demand that is responsible for much of the country’s illegal immigration, but their actions also hurt lawful workers who are seeking jobs in this challenging economy,” said Brian M. Moskowitz HSI special agent in charge. “Criminal prosecutions are just one of many tools HSI is using to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect job opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce.”