A hotel operator has been fined $3,000 and placed on five years’ probation for keeping an illegal immigrant on staff at mid-Nebraska hotels, even after knowing her status.
Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lyle Strom sentenced 63-year-old Paul Younes. The judge also assessed a $150,000 fine against Kearney Hospitality, owner of Fairfield Inn and Suites of Kearney. Kearney Hospitality has also been placed on five years’
Hastings hotel manager Stephanie Hagemeier was previously sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $500 fine for her role in the offense.
According to U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg, Hagemeier employed Blanca Gama, a citizen of Mexico not lawfully in the United States, as the housekeeping supervisor of the Holiday Inn Express. Hagemeier knew in 2014 Gama was under investigation by the Social Security Administration office of Inspector General, but still helped her get a similar job in Kearney under an assumed name with the help of Younes. Younes authorized Gama to be rehired at the Hastings Holiday Inn Express under another assumed name. Hagemeier signed the I-9 form even though she knew Gama wasn’t authorized to work in the United States.
Paul Younes and Kearney Hospitality, Inc. have been implicated in the case and have pleaded guilty. They will be sentenced next month.