3 Imprisoned for Hiring Illegal Immigrants for Cleaning Firm

Sally Apgar, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale), March 5, 2008

A West Palm Beach man was sentenced Monday to more than four years in prison and ordered to pay $16 million in unpaid taxes for his role in a nationwide tax scheme that employed illegal immigrants as janitors to clean for restaurant chains like Hard Rock Cafe, Dave & Busters and Yardhouse.

Scott Cunningham, 44, the former vice president of Rosenbaum-Cunningham International (RCI), was sentenced to four years and three months by U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Along with Cunningham, the company’s former president, Richard M. Rosenbaum, 61, of Longwood, was sentenced to 10 years and ordered to pay $16.9 million. A third defendant, Christina A. Flocken, 60, who once served as RCI’s controller, was sentenced to 2 1/2 and ordered to pay $15.7 million.

Maloney also ordered the three to forfeit bank accounts, life insurance policies and cash totaling more than $3 million that prosecutors said was derived from their illegal activities. Cunningham is expected to forfeit a home in the gated community of Ibis Golf and Country Club.

In handing down the sentence, Maloney said the crimes involved a “massive tax scheme involving illegal aliens.”

Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Julie L. Meyers said, “For too long, unscrupulous employers like those who owned and operated RCI have been able to undercut their competition by building their work force with illegal labor.”

Myers added that “targeting employers who profit from illegal hiring is a key component to stopping illegal immigration.”

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Just before the indictment was handed down, more than 200 undocumented workers from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and Haiti were rounded up in a raid on 63 RCI job sites across the country, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They were detained pending deportation proceedings.

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