News and Press Releases

THREE SUB-CONTRACTORS ENTER GUILTY PLEAS FOR EMPLOYING ILLEGAL ALIENS IN MIAMI-DADE SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2010

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, Miami Field Office, and Chris Mazzella, Inspector General, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Office of Inspector General (MD-OIG), announced that all three defendants charged with harboring undocumented aliens working on a Miami-Dade school construction project have entered guilty pleas.

Luis Daniel, 59, the president of Hialeah-based Daniel Builders, Inc., his wife Marta Duque, 57, and Luis’ son, Ariel Daniel, 26, entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit mail fraud under Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 and conspiracy to induce aliens to remain in the United States for commercial advantage and private financial gain, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(v)(I) and (B)(i). The pleas were accepted this morning by U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro. When sentenced on December 10, 2010 at 10 a.m., they face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison. All three had been released on bond since June 9, 2010.

In February 2009, ICE special agents initiated an investigation after learning that undocumented aliens, as well as lawful residents and citizens of the United States, were paid substandard wages at a construction project of an addition to Southside Elementary School, located at 45 S.W. 13th Street in Miami. Daniel Builders, Inc., was the sub-contractor awarded a $2.714 million contract at Southside Elementary School in September, 2008. The construction workers hired for the project did not receive overtime wages. In addition, social security and income taxes were not deducted from their paychecks.

The Indictment charged that between October 2008, and March 13, 2009, the three defendants used their corporation, Daniel Builders, to hire and underpay illegal aliens to increase their profit margin. Thereafter, the defendants created an elaborate scheme to conceal the fact that the work force at Daniel Builders was comprised primarily of undocumented aliens. This scheme included using nominee corporations that acted as labor providers and payroll administrators, in order to insulate Daniel Builders from the responsibility and tax consequences of hiring illegal workers. Among the nominee companies were Miami Metro Services, Inc., and Miami Dade Builders, Inc. This allowed Daniel Builders to enhance its profit margin primarily by paying substandard wages, not paying overtime wages, and not withholding social security or employment taxes.

The investigation was conducted by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations in Miami and the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lorraine Tashman and Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Daniel.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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