Former Agriprocessors Manager Hosam Amara Pleads Guilty To Alien Harboring Conspiracy
Contact: Peter Deegan
Former Agriprocessors, Inc., manager Hosam Amara pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids. Amara, age 48, formerly of Postville, Iowa, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for profit.
In a plea agreement, Amara admitted he was a manager of the poultry side of Agriprocessors’ Postville facility. Amara admitted that, during at least the five years leading up to May 2008, he and several other Agriprocessors managers knowingly and willfully conspired to harbor undocumented alien workers at Agriprocessors’ Postville facility. Among Amara’s coconspirators was Agriprocessors’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Amara admitted the conspiracy was for the purpose of commercial advantage.
In the plea agreement, Amara also admitted that, in the Fall of 2007, an immigration agent warned Agriprocessors’ human resources manager that certain expired versions of resident alien cards should no longer be accepted as proof that alien employees were authorized to work in the United States. The human resources manager stopped accepting the cards, and Agriprocessors soon had a shortage of workers. Amara complained to the CEO about the worker shortage, and the CEO began causing new undocumented alien workers to be placed on the payroll of a separate company, Hunt Enterprises, to make it appear the undocumented aliens were not Agriprocessors’ employees. Knowing this, Amara told existing undocumented alien workers to encourage their family members to come to Agriprocessors for work.
In the plea agreement, Amara also admitted he fled to Israel in the wake of a May 12, 2008 immigration enforcement action at Agriprocessors in Postville. The CEO encouraged Amara to leave, telling him, “[j]ust go ahead and leave and forget about everything here.” The CEO gave Amara $4,000 to use for expenses including airfare. Amara was extradited to the United States in April 2013.
Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Amara remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Amara faces a possible maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and up to three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Peter Deegan, C.J. Williams, and Matthew Cole. The investigation has been led by Homeland Security Investigations with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Prior assistance was provided by the United States Marshals Service; United States Postal Inspections Service; Iowa Department of Public Safety; Iowa Department of Transportation; Federal Protective Service; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations; United States Department of Labor; Public Health Service; United States Department of Agriculture; United States Environmental Protection Agency; Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Drug Enforcement Administration; Waterloo Police Department; and Postville Police Department.
Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl. The case file number is CR 08-1324 LRR.