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United States v. Tipton

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
518 F.3d 591 (2008)


Facts

The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Sadik Seferi and Nicole Tipton (defendants) for knowingly hiring and harboring six unlawful aliens, two of whom were minors, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A), and for conspiring to do so, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. The trial evidence established that the aliens, in the United States illegally, worked in Tipton’s restaurant. Seferi and Tipton lived together, managed the restaurant as a joint enterprise, and split the restaurant's profits equally. Seferi hired the aliens and supervised their work in the restaurant's kitchen. The aliens' personnel files contained counterfeit identity documents. Unlike other employees, the aliens were hired without employment applications or interviews, worked for less than the minimum wage, and were paid in cash, with no tax or insurance withholdings. Tipton leased and paid for the aliens' apartments, and Seferi drove the aliens back and forth between the apartments and the restaurant. The federal district court judge found Seferi and Tipton guilty, and increased their sentences under federal sentencing guidelines USSG §§ 2L1.1(b)(2)(A) and 3B1.4, on the grounds that they hired and harbored six or more illegal aliens and used minors in the commission of their offenses. Seferi and Tipton appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Tipton also contended that no evidence proved she acted affirmatively to involve the minors in crime.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Colloton, J.)

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