A Lehi mink farmer and the operators of a Salt Lake-based immigration consulting business have pleaded not guilty to charges that they violated the federal immigration law.

Ana M. Anderson and William J. Anderson, who operate Alien Naturalization Assistance, are charged with conspiracy to make false statements in applications to obtain temporary resident status for aliens under the law's special agricultural worker provisions.Ana Anderson is also charged, as is Scott McLachlan, Lehi, with making the false statements in the applications.

U.S. Magistrate Ronald Boyce heard the pleas from the three Friday and released them on their own recognizance.

Another defendant, Isao Nakagawa, a West Jordan farmer, will be arraigned Monday, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Lubeck.

In a separate but similar case, Howard Jerry Ferguson, Salt Lake City, an application preparer, and Val Crandal, Orem, a farmer, are scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 5, said Meryl Rogers, officer in charge of the Salt Lake City office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Rogers said his office is taking special care to verify applications under the special agricultural worker provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, because it's estimated that more than half of such applications are fraudulent.

Under the agricultural provisions, undocumented aliens who can show that they worked an aggregate of 90 days in agriculture in the United States in the year prior to May 1986 may be eligible for temporary residence and, after 18 months, may be able to apply for permanent residence.