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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



MAY 15, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


OZARK BUSINESS OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO

HARBORING ILLEGAL ALIENS


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the owner of an Ozark, Mo., construction company pleaded guilty in federal court today to harboring illegal aliens.


             Santiago Lopez-Gomez, 28, a citizen of Mexico residing in Springfield, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge James C. England this afternoon to the charge contained in a March 7, 2007, federal indictment.


             Lopez-Gomez, an illegal alien, admitted that he hired six illegal aliens from Mexico to work for his construction company, S.L. Primo’s Exteriors. Lopez-Gomez rented three residences in the Freemont Hills Town Home Community in Ozark in which to house his workers. Lopez-Gomez and four of the illegal aliens were arrested on Feb. 27, 2007, by police officers in Ozark during their investigation of a motor vehicle accident.


             By pleading guilty today, Lopez-Gomez also agreed to forfeit to the government all of the funds in his business bank account at Bank of America, which total $73,247. Lopez-Gomez admitted that all of the funds deposited into the bank account were obtained through his business utilizing illegal workers.


            Under federal statutes, Lopez-Gomez could be subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1.5 million. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robyn L. McKee. It was investigated by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Ozark, Mo., Police Department.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html