PHOENIX (AP) — The owner of a metro Phoenix car-wash chain accused of immigration fraud in its hiring practices has pleaded guilty to committing identity fraud.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Cosme Lopez says Danny Hendon pleaded guilty Thursday morning to the felony charge.

Hendon had previously avoided prosecution while several lower-level managers have since entered guilty pleas. Some said at least one higher-up within Danny's Family Car Wash instructed them to rehire workers who had to be fired after a federal audit.

Lopez says Hendon acknowledges in the agreement that he "knowingly turned a blind eye" to the hiring of more than 200 unauthorized immigrants.

Hendon was released on his own recognizance.

The company announced Thursday that Hendon's daughter, Heather, will now serve as president.

Hendon is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 20.