Husband and wife owners of two hotels in Kansas City have been arrested and charged with the following crimes by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):
- One count of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for personal gain
- Five counts of harboring undocumented aliens for personal gain
- Four counts of wire fraud
A desk clerk was also charged with making false statements to the government and failure to leave the U.S. as ordered. The owners were caught red-handed when an undercover ICE agent successfully applied for work at the hotel, blatantly admitting that he was undocumented. ICE had set up the “trap” after an investigation suggested the owners were employing undocumented aliens.
If convicted, the owners of the hotel are subject to the following maximum penalties,
- Conspiracy to harbor aliens: Five years in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000.
- Harboring illegal aliens for financial gain: 10 years in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.
- Wire fraud: 20 years in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.
The government is also seeking to forfeit the proceeds of the two hotels. Interestingly, the undocumented workers hired by the owners have not been charged. The government will decide the fate of the employees after the conclusion of the case. The ironic part of the process is that if the government decided to use their testimony against the owners, the employees could be given the opportunity to remain in the US and legalize their status.
The indictment alleged that the owners were motivated financially because they were paying these workers less than U.S. workers, did not pay the company’s fair share of social security payments, and did not pay workers compensation, unemployment insurance or other benefits.
Needless to say, the hotels’ I-9 processes were non-existent, and the owners were deliberately hiring undocumented aliens. ICE will show no clemency or quarter to these illegal practices.