For more than 10 years, a longtime Dallas-based FBI agent knowingly employed illegal immigrants at a deli she owned and has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge, according to court documents. The agent no longer works for the bureau, the FBI said.
Ann Cox, 49, signed a plea deal admitting that while she owned Schlotzsky's Deli in Rockwall, she hired six illegal immigrants from August 1997 until December 2008. She is scheduled to enter her plea before a federal judge Aug. 27.
FBI spokesman Mark White described Cox as "a former agent," but declined to say when she left the agency or if she was fired or resigned.
"I don't have that information," White said. "We don't normally talk about internal matters."
The charge -- unlawful employment of aliens -- is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison. But in the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to a sentence of up to five years probation.
Cox's phone number appeared to be unlisted. Her attorney, Terence Hart, declined to comment.
The federal government has increasingly prosecuted illegal immigrants themselves who repeatedly enter the United States. But the case against Cox is noteworthy because few business owners are charged with hiring illegal immigrants.
Carl Rusnock, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, acknowledged such cases are rare. He could not remember the last one.
"I don't recall any other prosecutions locally," he said.