Immigration Enforcement

ROOFING COMPANY PRESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO HIRE ILLEGAL ALIENS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the president of a Kansas City, Mo., area roofing company pleaded guilty in federal court today to conspiring to hire illegal aliens to work for several area roofing companies.

“Employers who hire illegal aliens jeopardize the security of our nation’s borders and erode our economic vitality,” Wood said. “This defendant not only relied upon hiring illegal aliens as part of his business model, but actually helped smuggle workers into the United States. Employers are an important line of defense to preserve the integrity of our immigration system, and we will not tolerate those who encourage and profit from illegal immigration.

Tony Evans, 49, of Stillwell, Kan., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah W. Hays this afternoon to the charges contained in a May 29, 2007, federal indictment.

Evans was president until February 2006 of Mid-Continent Specialists (MCS), a Kansas corporation that has had offices in three states, including Independence, Mo., Kansas City, Mo., Parkville, Mo., Pensacola, Fla., and Gulfport, Miss. Evans left MCS and opened Metro Roofing Services in February 2006.

By pleading guilty today, Evans admitted that he participated in two separate conspiracies to encourage illegal aliens to enter and reside in the United States for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain.

On March 28, 2001, 23 illegal aliens were arrested in Gravois Mills, Mo. These individuals had been at MCS job sites around the Lake of the Ozarks area. Most of those workers were deported to Mexico except co-defendant Luis Hernandez-Bautista, also known as Miguel Hernandez, 34, a citizen of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo. Hernandez-Bautista posted an immigration bond and MCS petitioned to remain in the United States as a skilled laborer. Shortly thereafter, Hernandez-Bautista borrowed $11,000 from MCS to help smuggle the deported workers back into the United States. Immediately upon their return to the United States, most of these illegal workers again began working on MCS job sites under the direction of Hernandez-Bautista.

Hernandez-Bautista set up a number of his own companies (including LH Roofing, LLP and LHB Roofing, Inc.), all of which worked with MCS as “subcontractors” on various roofing jobs. Most of these companies set up by Hernandez-Bautista were set up as partnerships with most of the “partners” being illegal aliens who provided nothing to the partnership other than their labor. MCS would only deal with Hernandez-Bautista and all payments to the actual workers on the various roofing jobs were made to Hernandez-Bautista, who deposited the checks into accounts he controlled. Hernandez-Bautista drafted checks to the various illegal aliens, who possessed sufficient identification to cash the checks.

All of the roofers who worked with Hernandez-Bautista were illegal aliens who were unlawfully present in the United States, the majority having been previously deported in March

2001. These illegal aliens reported to MCS’s office to get their job assignments. At this location, the illegal workers would contact Hernandez-Bautista, who provided the various crews with the job sites for the given week. These job sites would be provided to Hernandez-Bautista through Evans.

When Evans left MCS and opened Metro Roofing Services, he continued to utilize Hernandez-Bautista and the illegal alien workers on Metro Roofing job sites. Metro Roofing paid Hernandez-Bautista and numerous illegal aliens using the same payment method that was used by MCS.

Approximately $5,518,809 was paid by MCS to Hernandez-Bautista and numerous illegal aliens in the course of the first conspiracy to hire illegal aliens.

Approximately $740,823 was paid by Metro Roofing Services to Hernandez-Bautista and numerous illegal aliens in the course of the second conspiracy to hire illegal aliens from February 2006 until May 2007.

Evans is the sixth co-defendant to plead guilty to charges contained in the federal indictment. Hernandez-Bautista pleaded guilty on July 22, 2008, to his role in the conspiracies. Co-defendants Mario Bautista-Ojendiz, 26, of Grandview, Mo., and Dante Cardillo-Rendon, 25, Gaudencio Bautista, 32, and Abel Montiel-Angel, 38, all with unknown addresses, pleaded guilty to participating in a money-laundering conspiracy. Bautista-Ojendiz and Cardillo-Rendon also pleaded guilty to illegally reentering the United States after having been deported.

Under federal statutes, Evans could be subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Ketchmark. It was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Social Security Administration.

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July 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Business owner says illegal immigration costing local jobs

By Mark Wineka

mwineka@salisburypost.com

Ron Wetzler has had enough.

The owner of Olympic Drywall and Texturing in Rowan County says he’s losing out on jobs awarded instead to subcontractors who employ illegal immigrants, mostly Mexicans.

It’s happening on both commercial and residential construction projects in Rowan County, Wetzler claims.

He doesn’t have proof as to which workers are illegal. The way it works, he says, is usually the subcontractor himself is a legal resident, who then pays his crews — most of whom are here illegally — in cash.

Wetzler says the Hispanic workers’ wages are low — maybe $50 a day. No one’s paying workers’ compensation or liability insurance, and the government is seeing nothing in taxes. It all combines to make it hard for companies such as his to compete.

“They’re so far under us in cost,” Wetzler says.

He recently reported his suspicions about one job site to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, which told him to take the matter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

While local sheriff’s offices, including Rowan, have stepped up their identification and deportation of illegal immigrants who commit crimes, the emphasis has been just that — illegal immigrants who end up arrested and in county jails.

The N.C. Department of Labor has no program in place to which citizens can report their suspicions about illegal immigrants on job sites. Those calls also are referred to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s tip line, which for now is about the only recourse Wetzler and others like him have.

The federal tip line number is 1-866-DHS-2ICE.

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July 22, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Prison time for hiring illegals

By Jim Hannah • jhannah@nky.com • July 21, 2008

COVINGTON – Longtime Fort Wright politician and business leader Jeff Wolnitzek was sentenced today to eight months in prison for using illegal immigrant labor at his commercial interior contracting company.

He and his Crescent Springs-based business, Spectrum Interiors, also will forfeit $2 million earned from the illegal scheme.

“I accept responsibility for my action,” Wolnitzek told the judge before the sentence was handed down, “and I’m very sorry this happened.”

Nothing more was said by Wolnitzek, who will report to prison at a yet-to-be-decided date.

Rejecting his request for a sentence of no jail time, U.S. District Judge David Bunning followed prosecutors’ recommendation. Wolnitzek also will have to serve two years on probation.

Bunning called Wolnitzek’s business practices “cheating” and said unscrupulous businessmen like him were contributing to the nation’s illegal immigrant problem.

The sentencing brought a standing-room only crowd of about 40 people to Bunning’s courtroom. It was a diverse group of people in support of Wolnitzek and business competitors who claimed he used illegal immigrants to undercut them when bidding on jobs.

Bunning received an inch-thick stack of letters from people like former Fort Wright Mayor Gene Weaver, Northern Kentucky developer Bill Butler and Messer construction company officials who vouched for Wolnitzek’s character.

When the conviction forced Wolnitzek from his council seat in Fort Wright, city leaders passed a resolution recognizing the many achievements of their former colleague.

The public knew Wolnitzek as a hard-working man dedicated to public service, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McBride said, but behind closed doors he was a cutthroat businessman who had no regard for the law.

Wolnitzek pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor aliens for commercial advantage or private financial gain, but the details of the charge were not unsealed until Monday.
Spectrum subcontracted with illegal immigrant Louis Garcia for as much as half of its labor force from August 2002 through November 2006, according to the plea agreement. Spectrum would provide Garcia’s employees with hats, goggles, identification cards and uniforms despite the fact many were illegal immigrants themselves.

The scheme fell apart in November 2005 when Garcia pleaded guilty to tax evasion and agreed to become an undercover informant for federal agents investigating Wolnitzek. He wore a wire during meeting where Wolnitzek agreed to continue to use Garcia’s illegal immigrant labor even after Garcia was jailed on the tax evasion charges.

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July 22, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

The Story Of Golden State Fence Company (Now Fenceworks Inc)

By Digger

A story that epitomizes what is wrong with our judicial system in this country regarding employers of illegal aliens, is the story of Golden State Fence Company. You may remember that Golden State Fence Company was the employer in southern California that hired illegal aliens to work on the Otay-Mesa border fence. Golden State Fence Company was busted in 1999, 2004 and again in 2005 for hiring illegal aliens. Some of the illegal aliens busted in earlier raids were on the payroll at later busts because owner Melvin Kay admits he just ignored the warnings from the federal government and rehired them. He didn’t think it was a big deal.Prosecutors are said to have found that a third of the 750 Golden State Fence Company employees were illegal aliens. In 2004 ICE agents found evidence that 368 of Golden State’s employees had a “no match” on their Social Security Number to their name.

Kay was busted and prosecuted. In December 2006, the head of ICE, Julie Myers, tried to sound like she would be tough with Mel Kay and said “This settlement and guilty plea clearly show that employers who knowingly and blatantly hire illegal workers will pay dearly for such transgressions”

So how tough was the government on Mel Kay? In the end he received a plea agreement for the company to pay $5 million and he received 6 months of house arrest which allowed him to continue to work at the company. Yes, that is the kind of serious and harsh “paying dearly” that we should expect from our government on cracking down on employers of illegal aliens. People who are not competing on an even playing field with other businesses. People who are making a ton of cash illegally. People who are openly and arrogantly flaunting the law.

Now in a story at the Washington Post the owner Mel Kay admits from virtually day one that he hired illegal aliens and then had those illegal employees recruit others. Golden State Fence Company was started in 1984 and by hiring illegal aliens it grew quickly. Kay caught a break in 1986 when President Reagan signed an amnesty for illegal aliens. Kay’s employees benefited by becoming legal and Kay was off the hook for any potential previous violations.

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January 16, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment