Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Court Upholds Charges against Former Waterworld Supervisor

Prosecution in Employer Sanctions-Related Case Moves Forward

County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today that a Superior Court judge has refused to dismiss the criminal case against Lessie Serrano (DOB 2/1/58). She was the first manager charged criminally as the result of an investigation related to the Legal Arizona Workers Act.

Serrano is accused of one count of Aggravated Taking the Identity of Another, a class 3 felony, and one count of Hindering Prosecution in the First Degree, a class 5 felony, for allegedly knowingly accepting documents containing false Social Security Numbers from employees and for warning about the service of a search warrant. She was indicted in December, 2008.

Serrano, the former food services manager for Waterworld, is accused of repeatedly hiring workers who used multiple SSNs, names, and birthdates at the park and warning these same workers of the presence of sheriff’s deputies searching the water park. Multiple workers have pled guilty and admitted that they were working illegally with stolen identities.

Since the indictment, Serrano’s legal team has filed a number of motions seeking to make the case go away. On July 16, 2009 Judge Paul McMurdie denied these motions seeking dismissal and remand to the grand jury. Deputy County Attorneys Vicki Kratovil and AnnieLaurie Van Wie are prosecuting the case.

Thomas stated, “This office will continue to prosecute individuals who violate our laws by hiring illegal immigrants. We will also follow through on other employer-sanctions investigations and pursue suspension of business licenses when appropriate.”

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