Saturday, October 6, 2018

JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG: Employer Pleads Guilty to Using H-2B Visa Workers to Cheat Americans

The owner of a catering and wedding business in New York is facing up to 20 years in jail for allegedly treating H-2B visa workers from the Philippines as “forced labor.”
The employer used the H-2 visa workers to cheat Americans out of jobs at marketplace wages. The Department of Justice reported, “[Ralph] Colamussi formerly owned and operated the Thatched Cottage [business]. At the plea proceeding, Colamussi admitted that workers were brought from the Philippines to the United States on H-2B visas that expired shortly after their arrival here.
The case was announced in December 2017 by the Department of Homeland Security, which indirectly noted that the H-2B workers preferred to work in American jobs for very low wages than to be sent home: “Workers were not only brought to the United States by means of fraudulent promises of specific employment, but upon arrival, were forced to work at lower than promised wages with no promised overtime.”
LINK: Thatched Cottage ex-owner pleads guilty to 
federal forced labor charge
Colamussi was indicted with former manager Roberto Villanueva, who is not pleading guilty:
Foreign workers were forced to care for Colamussi’s relatives, including his father, and to perform construction work at the Jellyfish Restaurant. Workers were brought here on brief H-2B visas that expired shortly after their arrival in the United States. Once their H-2B visas expired, workers were allegedly told by Colamussi and Villanueva to apply for student visas and to fraudulently represent that they intended to attend school full-time and had sufficient resources to support themselves during school. Colamussi and Villanueva, at times, deposited funds in the workers’ bank accounts to give the appearance of resources and then withdrew the funds once the student visas were approved.
The workers continued to work for Colamussi and Villanueva during the term of their student visas, attending school one day a week. When the workers objected to performing certain jobs or working consecutive shifts, Colamussi and Villanueva threatened to report them to immigration authorities. Colamussi had many workers whose visas had expired living in his basement of his home in East Northport, New York, and working for him off the books.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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1 comment:

cimbri said...

Visa worker fraud is rampant in the USA. Great to finally get an administration that will enforce the law.