Businessman guilty of harboring and exploiting immigrants to fund lavish lifestyle – WSB-TV Channel 2
BARTOW COUNTY, Georgia – A businessman living in Georgia has pleaded guilty to harboring immigrants after officials said he employed and exploited them to fund his lavish lifestyle.
Justice Department officials said Juan Antonio Perez, 48, from Mexico, encouraged immigrants to the United States to work illegally for his roofing company at below-market rates.
Perez, who officials say arrived in the United States illegally in 1992, has owned Aztec Framing since 2009. The company has offices in Cartersville and Rossville, Ga., And Hixon, Tennessee.
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Officials said Perez employed immigrants for low wages with no benefits or insurance, and paid no payroll taxes or social security. He built a 7,500 square foot house to house his employees and also owned other houses where employees lived.
Officials said that despite not reporting any income, Perez bought more than 30 custom sports cars and trucks.
In 2019, the authorities showed Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant the fleet of luxury cars, rigged trucks, and a cache of weapons, all seized in a series of raids on homes and businesses Perez owns.
Former US Attorney Bjay Pak said Channel 2 which Perez’s scheme allowed him to undermine legitimate contractors who were bidding on jobs for years. He also protected himself with an elaborate system of shell companies and contractors to hide his wealth and evade detection.
“This is a prime example of the ills of the illegal immigration system. You can argue it however you want, but for the work we do, that’s exactly what we want in an immigration case, ”said Nick Annan, Special Agent for Immigration and Customs.
“The old adage that crime doesn’t pay could not be truer than in this case. Perez thought his ploy to exploit desperate people in search of work and a better life would go unnoticed, but he was wrong and will now be held responsible, ”Special Agent in Charge Katrina said W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) operations. in Georgia and Alabama.
On July 7, Perez pleaded guilty to knowingly encouraging and inducing foreigners to come, enter and reside in the United States for the purpose of gaining commercial advantage and private financial gain, knowing or ignoring that such entry, entry, and residence in the United States was in violation of the law.
Perez will be sentenced in October.
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