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Local landscaping company and owner sentenced involving the employment of illegal aliens

September 13, 2012

St. Louis, MO - Robert Brake, along with his company Brake Landscaping & Lawncare, Inc., were sentenced on charges of fraudulently obtaining H-2B worker visas to support his landscaping business. Robert Brake and the Company were each sentenced to two years of probation. Brake Landscaping & Lawncare paid a $145,000 forfeiture.

The H-2B non-immigrant visa program permits employers to hire aliens to come to the United States and perform temporary, non-agricultural services on a one-time, seasonal, peak-load or intermittent basis. There is a set limit on the number of aliens who may receive H-2B visa status during each government fiscal year.

According to court documents, between March 2007 and February 2010, Robert Brake and his company illegally sub-contracted H-2B workers to an associate on a weekly basis at a profit of more than $2 an hour per alien. In order to facilitate illegal year-round employment of temporary H–2B visa workers, Brake Landscaping employees were hired by another company owned by Robert Brake, Brake Snow and Ice Removal, artificially creating a need for temporary or seasonal workers that didn’t actually exist.

ROBERT BRAKE, Byrnes Mill, MO, pled guilty in June to a misdemeanor charge of employing illegal aliens; BRAKE LANDSCAPING & lAWNCARE, INC., 3500 block of Gratiot Street, St. Louis,MO, pled guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, and appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge E. Richard Webber.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations and the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General with assistance from Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service and Citizenship and Immigration Services. Assistant United States Attorney John J. Ware handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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