Joe Arpaio's Workplace Raid of Uncle Sam's Results in First Arrest of Business Owner

Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office have arrested a business owner as a result of its workplace raids -- for the very first time.

Almost all the 70-plus such raids carried out by MCSO have resulted only in roundups of undocumented immigrants. Now, months after deputies raided several Uncle Sam's restaurants around the Valley, owner Bret Frimmel and manager Lisa Norton have been arrested on charges of forgery and identity theft.

See also:
-Joe Arpaio Hits Uncle Sam's with Immigration Raid
-Bill Montgomery Charges Four Uncle Sam's Workers

Ten employees were arrested in the July raid --the 73rd workplace raid -- and four ended up being charged.

In total, 762 employees have been arrested in these raids, which the Sheriff's Office comically referred to as "employer sanctions operations" for quite some time, despite only three employers ever being held for sanctions, and the first actual arrest coming yesterday.

"Both current and past employees stated [Frimmel] knowingly hired employees that were using forged identities," state court documents obtained by New Times.

The documents say the former employees told deputies that Frimmel "made comments to employees to bring in undocumented friends because they work the most and he could pay them the least."

"[Frimmel] also made comments that he didn't care about their status and would yell at staff, calling them illegals," the documents state.

The employees said they never even had to provide ID or a Social Security number when they were hired at Uncle Sam's.

They also told deputies that they couldn't get food handler's cards because they didn't have ID, but Frimmel told them it didn't matter, and told them to keep working.

One employee said he heard Frimmel say to Norton that they needed to "purchase numbers" before he started working, according to the documents.

An MCSO spokesman says several witnesses claimed that Frimmel and Norton "colluded together" to acquire false identity documents.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley