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Candy apple maker admits hiring undocumented workers

By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, Mo. – A woman from Washington, Mo. faces sentencing in February after pleading guilty to federal charges of hiring undocumented workers.

Joette Reidy was an officer of Lochirco Fruit and Produce, which did business as "Happy Apples." In addition to Reidy's felony plea on Tuesday, the company pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of hiring illegal aliens.

Happy Apples produces candy apples from a warehouse in Union. The apples were grown at its orchard in Marthasville.

U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway says Reidy was responsible for hiring seasonal workers and many of the 60-70 seasonal workers as of last fall were illegal aliens.

The company has agreed to forfeit $500,000 and pay a fine of $99,000.

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