Vass firm charged in worker visa fraud scheme
Posted February 4
Vass, N.C. — A Vass company that secures foreign workers for agricultural and other work in the U.S. is accused of manipulating the worker visa program and illegally funneling people to companies.
A federal grand jury in Greensboro handed down a 41-count indictment last Friday against International Labor Management Corp., founder and owner Craig Stanford "Stan" Eury Jr. and president Sarah Elizabeth Farrell, who is Eury's daughter. The government is seeking to seize at least $1.1 million in property that authorities say was involved in the alleged illegal activities.
Kearns Davis, a Greensboro attorney representing Eury and Farrell, said they and the company "flatly deny" the allegations and will "aggressively defend" their operations.
"Since Stan founded ILMC in 1994, it has assisted hundreds of businesses across the country in navigating the complex guest-worker bureaucracy and paperwork process," Davis said in a statement. "In an industry that is closely scrutinized and politicized, they do the right thing for employers and guest workers while carefully following the law."
ILMC prepares and submits petitions to the government on behalf of clients to obtain temporary workers under H-2 visas. Visas for workers in non-agricultural industries are capped at 66,000 per year, and companies must demonstrate that they need the immigrant labor because they cannot find workers in the U.S.
The indictment alleges that, from late 2006 until last April, ILMC falsified visa applications by inflating the number of workers some companies needed and by creating bogus "winter companies" to apply for visas earlier in the year before the nationwide cap was reached. The fraudulent activities created a pool of visas that ILMC could use to shift workers to companies who wouldn't be able to obtain them otherwise, according to the indictment.
ILMC also shifted workers who obtained agricultural H-2 visas into non-agricultural industries to evade the nationwide cap on those visas, the indictment alleges. For example, nine foreign nationals who obtained visas for agricultural work in Fairfield were sent to work at an Outer Banks restaurant instead, according to the indictment.