An Orange County man who heads a Rancho Cucamonga furniture business was charged Monday in Los Angeles with hiring undocumented foreign-born workers.
Rick M. Vartanian, 57, of Ladera Ranch, president and primary shareholder of Brownwood Furniture, is charged in a criminal information with obstruction of justice and a misdemeanor count of continuing to employ unauthorized workers, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to ICE, Vartanian told investigators that unauthorized workers identified during an earlier immigration audit were no longer employed by the company, when, in fact, the firm continued to employ 18 of those workers and had taken steps to shield them from detection.
Agents executed a search warrant at the company last December and discovered the 18 unauthorized employees still working there, ICE officials said.
Vartanian, who has already agreed to pay a $10,000 fine, faces a maximum sentence of 66 months in federal prison.
The charges against Vartanian come less than three weeks after the filing of charges against Brownwood Furniture's vice president, Michael Patrick Eberly.
The 48-year-old Alta Loma resident is charged in a criminal information with a misdemeanor count of continuing employment of unauthorized workers, according to ICE. According to the charging document, Eberly knew that many of the furniture company's workers were unauthorized and continued to employ them.
Eberly, who has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine, also faces a maximum sentence of up to six months in prison, ICE officials said.