Vass firm forfeits $1.1M for immigrant worker scheme
Posted January 7, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — A Moore County company will forfeit more than $1.1 million for illegally funneling immigrant workers to U.S. companies, according to federal court documents.
Vass-based International Labor Management Corp. pleaded guilty in October to money laundering, four counts of obtaining visas by fraud and 35 counts of inducing aliens to enter the U.S. for private financial gain.
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.
Prosecutors said that the company 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, authorities said.
The company also shifted workers who obtained agricultural H-2 visas into non-agricultural industries to evade the nationwide cap on those visas, according to authorities.
In addition to the forfeiture, ILMC was ordered to pay a $16,000 fine and spend three years on probation.
Criminal charges are still pending against ILMC owner Craig Eury and Harry Wicker and Kenneth White, both deputy directors of the North Carolina Growers Association. Those trials are expected to take place this year.
ILMC President Sarah Farrell pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in the case and was placed on probation.