Delaware County farmer pleads guilty to hiring illegal employees - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Delaware County farmer pleads guilty to hiring illegal employees

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

A farmer in Delaware County has pleaded guilty to hiring illegal aliens to work on his farm.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa says 47-year-old Michael Thomas Millenkamp of rural Earlville pleaded guilty to one count of harboring, encouraging, and inducing an alien to reside in the United States in violation of law, for the purpose of commercial advantage or personal financial gain.

Court documents show Millenkamp admitted to employing several illegal aliens at his dairy farm between 2007 and 2011 and allowing some of them to live at one or more of his farms.

At his plea hearing, Millenkamp admitted to telling one illegal alien, “these people I know, they’re my friends, and they’re like, Mike why are you hiring people that are illegal?  Why are you hiring people illegal Mike?  I said, I don’t know.  But I knew I had to lie, I had to lie.”

As part of the agreement, Millenkamp has to comply with the employment eligibility verification laws and obtain certification that his animal feeding operations are in compliance with Iowa’s water quality standards. He also must pay $250,000 to the United States and make at least two public presentations to statewide farm groups to bring awareness to his case.

Millenkamp also faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

A sentencing date has not been set.

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