Former Iowa kosher slaughterhouse personnel manager pleads guilty to immigration charges
By AMY LORENTZEN
DES MOINES, Iowa - A former personnel manager arrested after a massive immigration raid at a kosher slaughterhouse pleaded guilty Monday to federal immigration charges.
Elizabeth Billmeyer, 48, of Postville, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for profit and one count of knowingly accepting counterfeit resident alien cards. She faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Billmeyer was working at the Agriprocessors Inc. plant in Postville, once the nation's largest kosher slaughterhouse, when federal agents arrested 389 people in an immigration raid last May.
Over a five-year period leading up to the raid, Billmeyer conspired with others to harbor illegal immigrants at the plant for commercial advantage and private financial gain, according to a release from the U.S. attorney's office.
The company and other top managers, including former plant vice president Sholom Rubashkin, were charged last year with conspiracy to harbor undocumented immigrants for profit, aiding and abetting the harboring of undocumented immigrants and conspiracy to commit document fraud, among other counts.
Agriprocessors has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and at one point ceased production, although some lines have since reopened.
Billmeyer and others at the plant still face thousands of state child labor law charges.
She remained free on bond, and a sentencing will be scheduled after a pre-sentence report is prepared.
A telephone message left for Billmeyer's attorneys wasn't immediately returned.
Most troubling - "thousands of state child labor law charges" remain.