By Anita Nembhard
Raul Magaña, the owner of the well-known Temptation Bar, was fined $23,000 for employing 12 ladies who were not in possession of a valid working permit.
Magaña, a resident of the New Site, Ladyville, area appeared before Magistrate Adolph Lucas to answer to 12 counts of employing persons not in possession of a valid working permit on Thursday, December 13.
Immigration personnel conducted a sting operation on Temptation Bar, located at Mile 10 on the George Price Highway, the night before and rounded up 12 of his employees, who tried to run away when they saw the officers.
Eventually all twelve were caught, charged and summoned to appear before Magistrate Adolph Lucas.
Magaña arrived at court before his employees and pleaded guilty to the charges.
It is alleged that all twelve persons were women and are identified as Magali Murillo, Damaris Morel, Jennifer Cruz, Jessica Lorena Zaldivar, Aleza Hernandez, Diyanira Moradiaga, Silvia Guzman, Kenya Marisela Villanueva, Kennia Zelaya, Rosemelin Suarez, Olinda Milian De Burstcheff, and Linda Lopez.
In court Magaña explained that he had visited the Immigration Department to apply for permits but was unable to obtain them, as the department would not accept applications until January 2013.
As a first time offender, Magaña received a non-custodial sentence, where he was fined $1,000 on the first count, a $2,000 fine for each of the other 11 counts, and $5.00 in costs.
The total must be paid between December 28, 2012 and November 31, 2013.
In default of payment, he will serve one year for each person employed.
Magaña was also ordered by the Magistrate to pay the deportation fee for each employee to her home country, to the tune of $150.00 each.
Magaña is the former owner of the Rose Garden Bar, located at Mile 8 on the Phillip Goldson Highway which was destroyed by a fire burned in June 2011.
The proprietor intends to rebuild this facility and has begun construction at the same location.