Eatery owners, managers charged in federal immigration case

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MIAMI - FEBRUARY 02: A judges gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom of the newly opened Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum February 3, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The museum is located in the only known structure in the nation that was designed, devoted to and operated as a separate station house and municipal court for African-Americans. In September 1944, the first black patrolmen were sworn in as emergency policemen to enforce the law in what was then called the "Central Negro District." The precinct building opened in May 1950 to provide a station house for the black policemen and a courtroom for black judges in which to adjudicate black defendants. The building operated from 1950 until its closing in 1963. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI – FEBRUARY 02: A judges gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom of the newly opened Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum February 3, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The museum is located in the only known structure in the nation that was designed, devoted to and operated as a separate station house and municipal court for African-Americans. In September 1944, the first black patrolmen were sworn in as emergency policemen to enforce the law in what was then called the “Central Negro District.” The precinct building opened in May 1950 to provide a station house for the black policemen and a courtroom for black judges in which to adjudicate black defendants. The building operated from 1950 until its closing in 1963. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Missouri have charged more than a dozen restaurant owners and managers in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, accusing them of a racketeering scheme to hire and employ immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

The Kansas City Star reports that the indictment unsealed Wednesday charges the owners and managers with various counts ranging from fraud and conspiracy to money laundering and illegal use of social security numbers.

The indictment involves 45 Mexican restaurants across several states that received employment services from Specialty Foods Distribution, a Joplin-based company, and another affiliate.

Prosecutors say that over the course of nearly 20 years, the company helped staff the restaurants with people not eligible to work in the U.S.

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