Fischer Homes supervisors charged with harboring illegal aliens – ICE Press Release

05/09/2006
Via Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Press Release

— Four supervisors arrested on criminal charges and 76 illegal alien employees apprehended —

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Amul R. Thapar, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, today announced the arrest of four construction supervisors of Fischer Homes Inc. and 76 illegal alien workers at Fischer Homes construction sites in Kentucky. Headquartered in Kentucky, Fischer Homes is a leading builder of homes in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.

A coordinated investigation by ICE, the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division and local law enforcement agencies resulted in the arrest this morning of the four Fischer Homes construction site supervisors pursuant to criminal complaints issued in the Eastern District of Kentucky. Those arrested are:

• Timothy Copsy, a Fischer Homes construction manager
• Doug Witt, a Fischer Homes superintendent
• William Allison, a Fischer Homes superintendent
• Bill Ring, a Fischer Homes assistant superintendent

Each of the defendants is charged in a criminal complaint with aiding and abetting, harboring illegal aliens for commercial advantage or private financial gain. The maximum possible punishment for the crime charged is up to 10 years imprisonment, $250,000 or both. The defendants made their initial appearance this morning in federal court in Covington, Kentucky.

During the enforcement operation today, ICE agents also apprehended 76 illegal alien workers at three
Fischer Homes construction sites in Hebron, Union and Florence, Kentucky.

“Today’s case is another tough step in our targeted and aggressive enforcement of our immigration laws within the interior of the United States,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “We will continue to bring criminal actions against employers who are consistently harboring illegal aliens. We will stop this type of illegal facilitation.”

ICE Assistant Secretary Myers said, “ICE has no tolerance for corporate supervisors who harbor illegal aliens for their workforce and deny labor opportunities for legitimate American employees. This enforcement action demonstrates how we will use all our investigative tools to bring these individuals to justice, no matter how large or small the company.”

Assistant Secretary Myers and U.S. Attorney Thapar praised the collective efforts of the local and federal community who are giving their time, expertise, and full cooperation to this ongoing effort. A criminal complaint is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was established in March 2003 as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE is comprised of four integrated divisions that form a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities.

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RECENT ICE WORKSITE ENFORCEMENT CASES

Today’s enforcement action is the latest in ICE’s ongoing efforts to target illegal employment practices through criminal investigations, prosecutions, and asset seizures. Last fiscal year, ICE worksite investigations resulted in 127 criminal convictions and a total of 1,145 arrests, up from 46 criminal convictions and 845 arrests the previous year. Below is a sample of ICE worksite enforcement cases brought in the past month.

• On May 2, 2006, Robert Porcisanu, the owner of an Indiana business that performed stucco-related services at construction sites in at least seven Midwest states was charged with money laundering, harboring illegal aliens, transporting illegal aliens, and false statements in connection with an illegal employment scheme. Porcisanu faces as many as 40 years in prison. ICE is also seeking the forfeiture of $1.4 million. His firm was allegedly able to undercut the bids of contractors to perform work at construction sites by taking advantage of cheap labor costs from the use of illegal alien employees.

• On April 19, 2006, ICE agents arrested seven current and former managers of IFCO Systems North America Inc, pursuant to criminal complaints in Albany, New York, charging them with harboring illegal aliens for financial gain. ICE agents also apprehended 1,187 of the firm’s illegal alien employees during search warrants and consent searches executed at more than 40 IFCO locations nationwide. The arrests were the result of a year-long investigation of IFCO, which determined that more than half of IFCO’s employees during 2005 had invalid or mismatched Social Security numbers. IFCO is the largest pallet services company in the United States, based in Houston, Texas.

• On April 14, 2006, the operators of Baltimore’s best-known sushi restaurants agreed to forfeit more than $1 million and pleaded guilty to criminal charges of conspiracy to commit alien harboring and money laundering in connection with an illegal alien employment scheme. The investigation found that the operators of the three Kawasaki restaurants in Baltimore exploited cheap, illegal labor to maximize profits in order to purchase new homes and luxury vehicles for themselves.

• On April 11, 2006, a federal indictment was unsealed in Ohio charging two temporary employment agencies and nine individuals with hiring and harboring illegal aliens; mail and wire fraud; and laundering approximately $5.3 million. The indictment alleged that HV Connect, Inc., and TN Job Service, Inc. provided hundreds of illegal alien employees to unwitting companies in Ohio by falsely representing that they were legal. The indictment also alleged that the owners of these agencies used the profits from this scheme build a new home and purchase jewelry for themselves.

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