Pella Chronicle

September 25, 2013

Restaurant owners convicted


United States Attorney's Office

Des Moines — United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt announced today that the last of three Iowa restaurant owners and operators was sentenced for harboring illegal aliens and for filing false statements on the restaurant’s tax returns by not listing the illegal aliens as employees.

On April 19, 2012, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (a division of ICE) executed search warrants in Pella, Oskaloosa and Newton and arrested 18 people on administrative immigration violations. These individuals were not charged with crimes. An arrest for an administrative immigration violation means that the individual either is illegally in this country or has violated the terms of their legal entry into this country, and therefore is subject to deportation.

On September 20, 2013, Chief Judge James E. Gritzner sentenced Ali Bayram to two years of probation, restitution to the IRS of $15,986.00, a $10,000 fine, and a $200 special assessment payable to the Crime Victim Fund. Chief Judge Gritzner sentenced Fikret Bayram on August 15, 2013, to two years of probation, restitution of $15,788.64 due to the IRS, a $10,000 fine, and a $200 special assessment payable to the Crime Victim Fund. Judge Ronald E. Longstaff sentenced Ali Sengul on August 9, 2013, to two years of probation, restitution of $15,313.00 due to the IRS, and a $200 special assessment to the Crime Victims Fund.

Ali Bayram, 60, Oskaloosa, Iowa, ran the Oskaloosa Family Restaurant. Fikret Bayram, 59, Monmouth, Ill., also operated the Oskaloosa Family Restaurant. Ali Sengul, 44, Pella, operated the Tulip Garden Restaurant in Pella. All three men hired illegal aliens knowing the individuals were not in the country legally and had no permission to work. The men also provided housing to the illegal workers. Each signed tax forms for the restaurants which failed to report the illegal aliens as employees.

These cases were the result of a two-year investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and IRS Criminal Investigation. The cases were prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.