Compton sentenced for employing illegals
GREEN FOREST -- Nearly a year after her Unique Linen laundry was raided by federal authorities looking for illegal aliens, owner Janell Compton pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge in exchange for probation and a fine.
She was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine for employing five illegal aliens at her commercial laundry service.
The sentence was handed down Tuesday when she appeared before Chief U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren in U.S. District Court in Harrison.
Compton, 54, was indicted in February on five felony counts of harboring and concealing illegal aliens. According to authorities with the Department of Justice, she faced up to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines on each of the five counts.
Instead, two days before she was scheduled to go to trial in May, Compton changed her plea to guilty of the reduced misdemeanor charge.
Compton, who was not available for comment, is well-known throughout the community. She held the elected position of city clerk/recorder for many years until her defeat last November shortly after the raid on her business.
In addition to her clerk/recorder duties, she twice served as interim mayor for the town -- once in 2004 when Leonard Tidyman resigned and again in 2008 when Richard Deweese moved away.
Compton opened Unique Linen in 1999.
In 2007 she began providing uniforms, mats and rugs to the city, taking over a service previously provided by Cintas.
After her business was raided, Green Forest Mayor Charlie Reece severed the city's business relationship with Unique Linen, saying the decision was based on allegations that Compton may have been employing persons "in a manner that is not in conformity with the law."
The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, assisted by Immigration Criminal Apprehension Task Force officers and members of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office and the Green Forest Police Department.