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|Owner of San Fernando Valley Manufacturing Company to Plead Guilty in Illegal Hiring Case|
|Written by San Fernando Valley Sun|
|Thursday, 06 September 2012 03:21|
LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The owner of a Van Nuys manufacturing company has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of hiring undocumented workers and attempting to cover up the fraud, prosecutors said.
Yoel A. Wazana, 38, owner and production manager of Wazana Brothers International Inc. – also known as Micro Solutions Enterprises – will plead guilty to one felony count of false representation of a Social Security number, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
In addition, the printer supply manufacturing company itself will pay about $267,000 to settle criminal and civil charges.
Wazana admits in a plea agreement that he caused two employees to use the Social Security numbers of relatives in order to remain in the firm's employ after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations launched a probe of the company's compliance with federal hiring laws.
In another plea agreement filed last month, the firm admits hiring about 55 unauthorized workers, and then continuing to employ them after the ICE inspection had begun, court papers show.
Beyond the fines, the plea agreement calls for the company to be on probation for three years, during which time the firm will implement a series of measures to ensure it is complying with the nation's hiring laws, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"ICE is committed to holding businesses accountable when they knowingly hire or retain illegal workers," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of HSI Los Angeles.
"Employers who willfully violate our nation's hiring laws gain an unfair economic advantage over their law abiding competitors," he said. "Our goal is to protect job opportunities for the nation's legal workers and level the playing field for those businesses that play by the rules."
The plea agreements describe how, after learning of the ICE audit, Wazana conducted meetings with his company's assembly line workers, instructing them to obtain valid work authorization documents and return with those papers, suggesting that he did not care if the documents were actually theirs, according to court papers.
In February 2008, federal authorities executed a search warrant at MSE's Van Nuys plant, arresting eight current and former company workers on criminal charges and another 130 employees on administrative immigration violations, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The felony charge of false representation of a Social Security number carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 06 September 2012 03:22|