Sheriff Joe's Workplace Raid Nets Seven Arrests
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, right, talks with actor Steven Seagal, who was visiting the sheriff, after holding a news conference announcing his latest crime suppression illegal immigration operation sweep at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Training
Arizona Daily Star
February 04, 2011
MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ – Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies Thursday made seven arrests on suspicion of identity theft at a rebar manufacturer in Phoenix near Sky Harbor International Airport.
Nearly 30 deputies and investigators raided Great Western Erectors just after 4 p.m. Investigators searched for employment documentation and seized records relating to 28 suspected undocumented employees.
MCSO personnel were questioning about 13 employees. Officials said they expected more employees on site, but severe weather in Dallas delayed paycheck shipments, so many workers did not show up to collect their paychecks.
“We will follow up on this and see if we can track down those that were told not to come because of the paychecks,” Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
Tim McKnight, a supervisor for the company, has worked in the Phoenix area for the past three years.
“This is all kind of a surprise to me,” he said. “I know they check, they are real thorough about that,” adding that Great Western Erectors used E-Verify and made employees file new I-9 forms at the beginning of the year.
Ongoing investigations could lead to the arrest of nearly a third of the manufacturing company’s employees.
“It will hurt, but we have 200 applications right now,” McKnight said.
Investigators received a tip that the business employed undocumented immigrants from a former employee, officials said.
Deputies have also arrested two other employees on outstanding warrants unrelated to identity theft.