Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Two Uzbek Men and One Moldovan Man Plead Guilty to Charges for Their Involvement in a Racketeering Enterprise That Engaged in Forced Labor

WASHINGTON – Viorel Simon, Nodirbek Abdoollayev and Bakhrom Ikramov have all pleaded guilty to charges related to their roles in a criminal enterprise that engaged in numerous criminal activities including forced labor, fraud in foreign labor contracting, visa fraud, mail fraud, identity theft, tax evasion and money laundering, the Department of Justice announced.

"These defendants took part in a modern day slavery scheme that victimized vulnerable individuals for profit," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Forced labor robs victims of their freedom and their dignity, and it will not be tolerated in the United States. We will continue the aggressive prosecution of cases like this."

According to court documents, Simon pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and fraud in foreign labor contracting. Simon actively supervised foreign national workers knowing that many of these workers were recruited with false promises and were coerced to work by threats of deportation and other adverse immigration consequences. Abdoollayev, who pleaded guilty to racketeering, assisted in the recruitment of foreign national workers, solicited hotels for housekeeping positions in which the foreign national workers were placed by the criminal enterprise, and laundered proceeds of the criminal enterprise. Ikramov, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud, fraudulently misrepresented the criminal enterprise’s payroll in order to defraud companies of insurance premiums.

Multiple co-defendants have previously pleaded guilty in connection with the case. On Aug. 18, 2010, Andrew Cole pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and fraud in foreign labor contracting. Ilkham Fazilov pleaded guilty on Aug 9. 2010, to racketeering conspiracy for his role in aiding and abetting others in the scheme. Jakhongir Kakhkharov pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy on March 17, 2010. Alexandru Frumusache pleaded guilty on Oct. 7, 2009, to forced labor trafficking. Abdukakhar Azizkhodjaev pleaded guilty on June 18, 2010, to misprision of a felony. Trial for the remaining defendants is set for Oct. 18, 2010.

The cases were investigated by the FBI, the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, the Kansas Department of Revenue and the Independence, Mo., Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Meiners and Civil Rights Division Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit Trial Attorney Jim Felte prosecuted this case for the government.

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