Woman pleads guilty in probe of illegal labor at dairy farms
RUTH, Mich. (AP) — A judge has accepted a guilty plea in an investigation of illegal labor at dairies in Michigan’s Thumb region.
Madeline Burke pleaded guilty to hiring people without verifying that they were eligible to work in the U.S. The government says the workers were in the U.S. illegally.
Burke and her husband are natives of Ireland. They operate two dairies near the tip of the Thumb. Burke has agreed to pay a fine of $187,500, which adds up to $1,500 per illegal worker.
Federal Judge Thomas Ludington accepted her guilty plea in a June 29 decision.
Charges still are pending against her husband, Denis Burke. He’s accusing prosecutors of selectively targeting immigrant farmers. Dutch immigrants John and Anja Verhaar were prosecuted in 2010. The government denies any discrimination.