A former Agriprocessors manager facing 27 federal charges relating to the 2008 Postville raid will plead guilty Friday to just one of those charges.
According to federal court documents, Hosam Amara, 48, will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for profit. The offense carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison without the possibility of parole. He had previously been facing up to 265 years in prison.
Amara worked on the poultry side of the Agriprocessors plant under CEO Sholom Rubashkin up until the time of the May 12, 2008 raid Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Raid. The raid resulted in nearly 400 arrests. Amara initially evaded prosecution by fleeing to Israel after the raid. According to the plea agreement, Rubashkin told Amara to “just go ahead and leave and forget about anything here.” Rubashkin gave Amara $4,000 for travel expenses and air fare.
Israeli authorities arrested Amara in March 2011 and he was extradited to the United States in April 2013. During a May 2013 hearing, Amara pleaded not guilty to the various charges filed against him.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Amara admits to harboring illegal aliens at Agriprocessors, knowing they had entered the county illegally. Amara also encouraged other illegal aliens to come to the United States. This went on for at least five years prior to the raid, according to the documents.
The documents state that in fall 2007, Agriprocessors was informed that Permanent Resident Alien Cards were not being issued by the government and would not be accepted for employment purposes. A shortage of workers followed and Amara complained to Rubashkin about the lack of workers. Undocumented workers were hired and placed on the payroll for a separate company, Hunt Enterprises. The plea document states Amara “told existing undocumented workers to encourage their family members to Agriprocessors for work.”
Rubashkin was found guilty in November 2009 of 86 counts of bank, mail and wire fraud, money laundering and failure to pay livestock managers in a timely manner. All told, 389 workers were convicted and many were deported.
With Amara’s plea, only one criminal case connected to the raid remains unsettled. Another Agriprocessors manager, Zeev Levi, also fled to Israel. He remains at large.