- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Two temporary-employment agencies and six company officials were charged yesterday in a suspected $5.3 million scheme involving the employment of illegal aliens, mail and wire fraud, and money laundering, according to a federal indictment unsealed in Ohio.

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Labor Department’s Office of the Inspector General and the FBI arrested three persons in Philadelphia, one in New York City and another in Columbus, Ohio. A sixth person agreed to turn himself over to federal authorities, while three remain at large.

ICE spokesman Dean Boyd said those arrested conspired to employ illegal aliens, as well as legal aliens who had no authorization to work in the United States. He said the officials also conspired to provide transportation and housing for the aliens and help them obtain fraudulent documents, profited from the scheme and laundered millions of dollars in proceeds.

Mr. Boyd said many of the 300 workers sent by the companies to jobs in Ohio were identified as illegal aliens from Africa and the Middle East.

The employment agencies were identified as HV Connect Inc. in Philadelphia and Canton, Ohio, and TN Job Service Inc., which has offices in Philadelphia; Pennsauken, N.J.; Canton; and New Philadelphia, Ohio.

“ICE has no tolerance for companies that knowingly engage in the employment of illegal aliens,” said Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers. “Companies such as HV Connect, Inc., undermine our laws, which ultimately undermines legal American workers.”

According to the indictment, the agencies contracted with unwitting companies in Ohio to provide them with several hundred workers. In doing so, it said, the agencies falsely represented to their clients that the workers were legal and authorized to work in the United States.

It said the firms also falsely represented that they would pay payroll taxes and workers’ compensation premiums for the employees.

Mr. Boyd said the owners of the temporary-employment agencies and other defendants laundered about $5.3 million in proceeds that they earned from this illegal employment and mail- and wire-fraud scheme through business and personal bank accounts.

Several of the defendants used illegal proceeds from this scheme for personal transactions, including the construction of a home in New Jersey; the purchase of jewelry, clothing and liquor; and spending at casinos, according to the indictment.

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