Prisma Graphic CEO speaks out after MCSO raid, arrests

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PHOENIX -- The CEO of a Phoenix business says his company's reputation is tarnished in the wake of a raid by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday. 

Six of the print shops employees were arrested for felony ID theft in an operation that the Prisma Graphic management team believes was unnecessary.

"They could have sent two deputies here, gone through our files, asked for these six people to see and we would have brought them up," Robert Anderson said. "To bring in helicopters, 60 sheriff's deputies was overkill."

Anderson said the raid was a gratuitous show of manpower.

"When you have 17 suspected felons in two large buildings with over 100 employees, I think we're going to take action to make sure my deputies aren't hurt," said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, defending the raid.

The printing company is suspected of employing illegal immigrants using false identification.
Anderson said the people in question were hired before the E-Verify program went into effect Jan. 1, 2008.

"We can't go back and do everybody in the company; we aren't required to do that," he said. "It was from the start of 2008 in January until now and that's what we've done."

Anderson said Prisma Graphic always follows the law during the hiring process, but he admitted he did not know if the six arrested were legal or not.

Anderson also said at the time of their hiring, those employees filled out the I-9 paperwork and provided the necessary documentation when it was requested.

"We did preliminary investigation six months to determine that they were working there illegally," Arpaio said.
A spokesperson with the sheriff's department said investigators also got a tip that the suspects were printing sensitive financial documents. The media was later told no physical evidence of that was ever found.

"I don't believe we'll lose business, but were going to have to do some polishing," Anderson said.

When asked if Prisma Graphic is in trouble, Arpaio did not give a straight answer.

"We haven't finished our investigation about the circumstances," he said. "We're still pursuing the investigation."

The six arrested face felony ID theft charges and are being held without bond at the Maricopa County Jail.