BY JIM KOURI
Via the Sierra Times:
Two leaders of a nationwide employee-leasing conspiracy, that leased out hundreds of illegal aliens throughout the United States, pleaded guilty before US District Judge Kenneth Marra in the Southern District of Florida, while a third defendant was sentenced, according to the US Justice Department.
Jaroslaw Sawczuk, 39, a Polish citizen of Coral Springs, FL, and Jozef Bronislaw Bogacki, 43, a native of Poland and naturalized US citizen residing in Clearwater, FL, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to transport, house and encourage illegal aliens to remain in the United States. They also pleaded guilty to visa, wire, mail, and tax fraud, as well as money laundering.
Judge Marra sentenced a third defendant, Pavel Preus, 39, a Polish citizen residing in Pompano Beach, FL, who pleaded guilty to similar charges on September 13, 2005. Preus was sentenced to 37 months in prison, 36 months of supervised release, and ordered to pay $950,000 for unpaid payroll taxes.
The other suspects -- Lucia Kanis, 31, a Slovak citizen; Ivan Kanis, 39, a Slovak citizen residing in the Slovak Republic; and Andor Pikali, 37, a Slovak citizen who resided in Coral Springs -- are federal fugitives and believed to be overseas.
Bogacki pleaded guilty to six counts, Sawczuk to three, of a 26-count indictment that alleges from 1995 to the present, the defendants conspired to provide unauthorized workers, mostly East Europeans who had entered the United States on tourist visas, to American companies with whom the defendants had contracted to provide legally authorized foreign workers.
The indictment alleges that more than 550 illegal aliens were brought into the United States by the defendants. According to the indictment, the alien workers obtained tourist visas to enter the United States and were employed illegally in the midwest and southeastern United States on farms, in dairies and in factories.
The defendants contracted with American employers to provide workers, for whom the defendants were to pay payroll taxes and workers' compensation deductions. During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants failed to pay $6 million in payroll taxes and laundered over $20 million.
The remaining defendants face maximum penalties of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. In addition, the government is seeking forfeiture of the defendants' assets. A forfeiture hearing is scheduled for November 28, 2006. Bogacki and Sawczuk's sentencing is scheduled for December 15, 2006.
"The defendants, as charged, chose profits over compliance with our country's immigration and employment laws," said U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta of the Southern District of Florida.
"In using illegal aliens to generate their profits, the defendants not only took advantage of these individuals, but also potentially compromised the safety of our citizens," he added.
"In this case, the defendants laundered roughly $20 million and failed to pay $6 million in taxes as part of this illegal employee leasing scheme," said Julie Myers, Department of Homeland Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The joint investigation, known as Operation Pisces, started in 2002. The investigation was led by the Kansas City Office of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Group Supervisor Doug Bemiss; the Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General; Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, Special Agent Sean Kilcoyne; and the Miami IRS field office, Special Agent Kenneth Murphy. The Miami Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service also provided support for the investigation, according to the released statement.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
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