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By Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser
On December 29, 2014, the owner of a Washington, D.C. area pool service company was sentenced to prison for knowingly hiring unauthorized workers. In addition to prison time, he was ordered to pay a fine of $36,000, forfeit $42,262, perform 80 hours of community service, and serve 60 days of home confinement along with 18 months of probation.
According to his plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office, Raymond Vincent was the owner of RSV Pools which provided lifeguards and pool maintenance services in the Washington, D.C. metro area. From January 2009 through June 2013, the company hired at least 12 unauthorized workers. Vincent approved the employment of each worker and knew that at least three of them were not legally authorized to work. Another nine employees were legally authorized for employment when they were hired, but their work status expired and they continued working with RSV Pools with Vincent’s knowledge.
Vincent also approved the payment of four unauthorized workers in cash “so that they did not appear on RSV’s books”, and permitted at least three of the unauthorized workers to rent a company apartment in 2012 and 2013, further profiting from their rent payments.
In a separate but related case, a former employee of RSV Pools, Milen Radomirski, was sentenced in July 2014 to two years in prison for visa fraud and ordered to forfeit $100,000. Radomirski worked for the company from 2003 to 2013, recruiting international workers for RSV Pools to sponsor to work in the U.S. on H-2B visas and other temporary visas. Radomirski submitted applications for approximately 789 H-2B visas from 2006 to 2011, and fraudulently obtained over 100 visas. Radomirski admitted that he charged visa beneficiaries money in exchange for including them on petitions for H-2B visas, and knew that many of the visa beneficiaries would only work for RSV Pools a short time, or not at all, before working for other companies.
As part of Vincent’s plea agreement, neither he nor RSV Pools can apply for visas or work permits for any foreign workers for a period of three years.
A copy of the press release from ICE HSI can be found here.
Updated 01-12-2015 at 04:09 PM by BBuchanan
by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser
Five managers of a waste disposal company in Houston, Texas were recently indicted for conspiracy to employ illegal aliens, unlawfully employing illegal aliens, and encouraging and inducing illegal aliens to reside in the United States.
According to the allegations in the indictment, from about July 2008 through April 2012, the defendants encouraged undocumented workers to obtain false documentation, assigned false identities to undocumented workers and, in some cases, provided them with employment documents related to their false identity.
The indictment describes an alleged incident in January 31, 2012, in which the defendants and their co-conspirators "fired" at least 10 workers that they knew were unauthorized to work after an internal audit. Following the "termination" of these undocumented workers, the defendants allegedly told them they could come back to work if they got "good papers" belonging to other individuals, encouraged them to assume the identity of U.S. citizens or individuals who had authorization to reside and legally work in the country, and even assisted certain workers in obtaining false identities for employment and payroll purposes. The defendants then allegedly "rehired" at least 10 undocumented workers under their assumed identities and issued paychecks to them under the assumed name.
The individuals whose identities were assumed did not authorize or even know their identities were being used, according to the indictment. They were former employees or individuals who had applied for employment but were never hired. The indictment alleges information was stolen from their employment applications and other records.
Federal law requires employers to hire only U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and those who are authorized to work in the U.S. If convicted of encouraging and inducing aliens to reside or conspiracy to do so, the defendants face up to 10 years in federal prison. They further face another five years on any of the charges relating to the unlawful employment of illegal aliens. All charges also carry as possible punishment, a maximum fine of $250,000, upon conviction.
This indictment demonstrates that managers and other higher-ranking company officials, such as owners, presidents and vice-presidents, face criminal penalties for engaging in immigration-related violations related to the employment of undocumented workers.
The case has been unsealed, and the docket can be followed here: http://dockets.justia.com/docket/tex...c01712/1190674
Click here for ICE and DOJ press releases.
An Ohio grand jury returned a 23-count indictment charging six people for their roles in a conspiracy to hire undocumented workers at a chain of restaurants in Ohio, called “Mariachi Locos” and “Mariachi Cocos” and pay them less than minimum wage. Prosecutors are also seeking for defendants to forfeit more than $16 million generated by the restaurants.
According to the indictment, the defendants engaged in the practice of hiring undocumented workers who were illegally present in the United States and conspired to shield these workers from detection by paying them in cash, excluding them from payrolls, leasing housing for the workers, and aiding the workers in obtaining fraudulent work documentation.
Prosecutors allege the defendants’ employment practices enabled them to enrich themselves because they paid the undocumented workers less than minimum wage, and did not pay the workers for overtime hours worked.
The charges include harboring undocumented workers, conspiracy to harbor undocumented workers, aiding and abetting the harboring of undocumented workers, mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Two defendants are also charged with making false statements to federal law enforcement officers.
This indictment is just one more example of the high cost of committing employment-related immigration violations, especially when it involves harboring undocumented workers.