A restaurant manager in eastern Kansas was indicted in federal court Friday on nine counts related to hiring and harboring illegal aliens for his business.

This indictment resulted from a criminal investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The owner of the restaurant is charged with four counts of harboring illegal aliens for financial gain, and five counts of encouraging illegal aliens to reside in the United States for financial gain.

According to the indictment, this investigation began in June 2011 when HSI special agents received information that the restaurant authorities were not completing I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms for its employees, as required by federal law for all U.S. businesses. HSI special agents reviewed the restaurant’s documents and discovered the restaurant did not have I-9 forms for 14 employees. HSI served a final order to the owner on Nov. 29, 2011 requiring him to cease the violations and pay a fine.

This indictment further alleges that the restaurant continued to employ illegal aliens after being served notice, and that he provided housing for his illegally employed workers at the restaurant in Ottawa and other affiliated restaurants. He also allegedly paid his illegal workers in cash.

If convicted of these charges, the restaurant owner faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 for each count in the indictment.

These charges are allegations of criminal conduct. In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent unless otherwise proven guilty in a court of law.