A popular San Diego restaurateur narrowly avoided jail time and significantly higher fines after he admitted to hiring nearly 100 illegal immigrants over several years. Michel Malecot was fined $400,000 in a rare case of federal prosecutor filing charges against an employer for illegal hiring.
Malecot allegedly hired 91 illegal immigrants over a period of several years for work in his restaurant, bakery and catering service, The French Gourmet. He hired them out of compassion and did not take advantage of the workers.
Prosecutors sought six months in jail and fines of over $600,000 for the charges. Malecot apologized for hiring the illegal immigrants and introduced new software to verify the immigration status of all new employees.