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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


JULY 22, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


MEXICAN NATIONAL PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRING TO HIRE ILLEGAL ALIENS FOR ROOFING COMPANIES

            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to hire illegal aliens to work for several area roofing companies.


             Luis Hernandez-Bautista, also known as Miguel Hernandez, 33, of Kansas City, Mo., a citizen of Mexico who is a lawful permanent resident of the United States, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah W. Hays this morning to the charges contained in a May 29, 2007, federal indictment.


             By pleading guilty today, Hernandez-Bautista admitted that he participated in two separate conspiracies to encourage illegal aliens to enter and reside in the United States based upon the promise of financial compensation for work performed on behalf of Hernandez-Bautista for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain.


             Hernandez-Bautista is the fifth co-defendant to plead guilty to charges contained in the federal indictment. Co-defendants Mario Bautista-Ojendiz, 26, of Grandview, Mo., and Dante Cardillo-Rendon, 25, Gaudencio Bautista, 32, and Abel Montiel-Angel, 38, all with unknown addresses, pleaded guilty to participating in a money-laundering conspiracy. Bautista-Ojendiz and Cardillo-Rendon also pleaded guilty to illegally reentering the United States after having been deported.


             Mid-Continent Specialist, Inc., d/b/a New Century Roofing (MCS), is in the business of roofing and re-roofing commercial and residential properties. On March 28, 2001, 23 illegal aliens were arrested in Gravois Mills, Mo. These individuals had been at MCS job sites around the Lake of the Ozarks area. All of those workers were deported to Mexico except Hernandez-Bautista, who posted an immigration bond and then petitioned to remain in the United States as a skilled laborer. Shortly thereafter, Hernandez-Bautista borrowed $11,000 from MCS to help smuggle the deported workers back into the United States. Immediately upon their return to the United States, most of these illegal workers again began working on MCS job sites under the direction of Hernandez-Bautista.


             Hernandez-Bautista set up a number of his own companies (including LH Roofing, LLP and LHB Roofing, Inc.), all of which worked with MCS as “subcontractors” on various roofing jobs. Most of these companies set up by Hernandez-Bautista were set up as partnerships with most of the “partners” being illegal aliens who provided nothing to the partnership other than their labor. MCS would only deal with Hernandez-Bautista and all payments to the actual workers on the various roofing jobs were made to Hernandez-Bautista, who deposited the checks into accounts he controlled. Hernandez-Bautista drafted checks to the various illegal aliens, who possessed sufficient identification to cash the checks.


             All of the roofers who worked with Hernandez-Bautista were illegal aliens who were

unlawfully present in the United States, the majority having been previously deported in March

2001. These illegal aliens reported to MCS’s office to get their job assignments. At this location, the illegal workers would contact Hernandez-Bautista, who provided the various crews with the job sites for the given week. Often the illegal workers would remain in the fenced-in area of MCS, playing soccer and speaking in Spanish while waiting for Hernandez-Bautista to obtain the job site assignment.


             Approximately $5,518,809 was paid by MCS to Hernandez-Bautista and numerous illegal aliens in the course of the first conspiracy to hire illegal aliens.


             In February 2006, Hernandez-Bautista and the illegal aliens began working for Metro Roofing Services, Inc. During the course of the second conspiracy to hire illegal aliens, from February 2006 until May 2007, the date of the indictment, Metro paid Hernandez-Bautista and numerous illegal aliens approximately $740,823.


            Under federal statutes, Hernandez-Bautista could be subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. 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 Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Ketchmark. It was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Social Security Administration.


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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