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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Orleans Elevation Company And Its Owner, Ramon Santos, Sentenced For Conspiracy To Commit Money Laundering

RENDON CONSTRUCTION, LLC, a New Orleans-based  house raising, leveling, and foundation repair company, and its owner, RAMON SANTOS, age 43, a resident of Kenner, were sentenced today in federal court today before U. S. District Judge Jay C.  Zainey for conspiring to commit money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr.  RENDON was sentenced to two years of organizational probation and a special assessment of $400.  SANTOS was sentenced to three years of probation and a $100 special assessment.  The Court declined to impose a fine on either defendant because they had agreed to forfeit $281,810 to the United States.

According to court documents, between April 2011 and July 2011, RENDON and SANTOS conspired with each other to conduct financial transactions designed to conceal and disguise the nature and source of the proceeds of harboring, encouraging and inducing aliens to reside in the United States, and to promote the harboring, encouraging and inducing aliens. In furtherance of the conspiracy, RENDON, through SANTOS, issued checks amounting to approximately $281,810 to Diablo Construction, a shell company.  Those checks, which represented the proceeds of harboring, encouraging and inducing aliens to reside in the United States through employment at RENDON job sites, were cashed by SANTOS, and the cash was used to pay RENDON's illegal alien workers.

"The use of illegal labor and schemes to obscure such conduct prevents honest businesses from competing on a level playing field against those who break the law," stated U. S. Attorney Polite.

"Companies that violate federal law by employing workers illegally 'under the table' gain an unfair advantage over businesses that play by the rules," said Raymond R. Parmer Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New Orleans. "HSI is committed to investigating and seeking prosecution of illegal employment practices to protect the legitimate workers and businesses that support our nation’s economy."

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U. S. Attorney Robert Weir and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Haller.