Owner of Annapolis Painting Services Pleads Guilty to Hiring Illegal Aliens and Money Laundering
Baltimore, Maryland - Robert T. Bontempo, Jr., age 47, of Annapolis, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to hiring illegal aliens to work in his painting business and money laundering, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
“If we want to give law-abiding businesses a fair chance to compete, it is essential that we prosecute employers who profit by hiring illegal aliens off the books,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
“Companies who employ illegal aliens to make an unlawful profit and to gain an unfair advantage over businesses operating within the law should take note of today’s guilty plea,” said Scot R. Rittenberg, Acting Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Baltimore. “This case clearly demonstrates ICE’s commitment to investigate companies who engage in illegal employment schemes and to target the profits that motivate their criminal activity.”
“Money laundering, like all financial crimes, adds to the underground economy, erodes the integrity of our tax system and threatens the financial health of our communities,” stated C. Andre' Martin, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge. “The IRS-Criminal Investigation is united with the rest of the law enforcement community in our resolve to financially disrupt those that commit crimes against our society and economy.”
According to the plea agreement, from 2003 through 2006, Bontempo, the owner and operator of Tempo Inc., a corporation doing business as Annapolis Painting Services (APS), knowingly hired and employed a significant number – up to 24 at certain times – of non-United States citizens, who were not authorized to be in and work in the United States. Bontempo knew these individuals were illegally present in the United States and failed to require them to provide the proper documentation to show they were legally in the United States and entitled to work in this county and failed to require them to properly fill out documents to substantiate lawful employment. Bontempo provided leased accommodations for some of his illegal alien workers in one of the several rental units he and his wife owned. APS workers transported some of the illegal aliens to and from their residences to worksites in company vehicles. Bontempo paid these illegal alien workers in cash until sometime in 2005, when the workers began to be paid by check.
Bontempo used the proceeds from the operations of APS, which were derived in part as a result of his hiring illegal aliens, to pay for a variety of business expenses and to pay himself a salary that was in turn used to pay for the mortgage and operational costs of real estate holdings. Bontempo has agreed to forfeit five bank accounts, 10 vehicles, including a Porsche Cayenne truck, and seven properties bought or paid for with the proceeds from the operations of APS.
Bontempo faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for hiring illegal aliens and 10 years in prison for money laundering. U.S. District Judge Williams D. Quarles, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for September 4, 2009 at 11:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the Anne Arundel County Police Department for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Michael Cunningham, who is prosecuting the case.