Execs Indicted For Employing Illegal Immigrants

cnn.com, Feb. 22, 2007

Federal authorities have accused three cleaning company executives of pocketing more than $18.6 million in unpaid taxes collected from employing hundreds of illegal immigrants from Mexico, Central America, and Haiti, according to an indictment CNN obtained Thursday.

The money was placed by the three Rosenbaum Cunningham International executives into “shell companies,” and then was used to purchase such “extravagant” items as beach homes and racehorses, the document stated.

RCI Inc.’s president, vice president and controller were arrested along with 200 of the Florida-based company’s employees in a recent sweep by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, the assistant secretary of homeland security for ICE, Julie Myers, announced at a news conference.

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The employees were arrested in 17 states and the District of Columbia late Wednesday into Thursday as they were starting or leaving their shifts, Myers said.

They face various immigration violations and could be deported, she said.

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The executives will be charged with 23 counts, including conspiracy to defraud and harboring illegal immigrants.

The vice president and controller have already been indicted in a federal court in western Michigan, she said.

According to the indictment, RCI hired illegal immigrants, paid them in cash and never required them to provide identification or fill out job applications or tax forms.

The government estimates that it was deprived of more than $18.6 million in employment taxes as a result. Those unpaid taxes, according to the indictment, were funneled into bank accounts under shell companies created by the three executives.

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RCI Inc. provided janitorial services to numerous restaurant chains, including Hard Rock Cafes, Dave & Busters, House of Blues, Planet Hollywood, and Fox Sports Grill, the indictment states.

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This is the latest of several recent major operations by federal officials dealing with illegal immigration in the United States.

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