SAN DIEGO — A federal judge has fined the owner of a popular San Diego restaurant and bakery nearly $400,000 for employing illegal immigrants.
Michel Malecot of The French Gourmet was spared prison time Thursday and his fine was far below the $650,000 sought by federal prosecutors.
He apologized to the judge and said he's taken measures to prevent any more illegal hiring. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to a misdemeanor charge of continuing to employ illegal workers.
Authorities said 91 employees were illegally hired between 2005 and 2008.
The French Gourmet is a local institution known for its wedding cakes and its contributions to charity. The case drew attention from restaurant owners who rarely are prosecuted for illegal hiring.