human trafficking rescue project
jury convicts ellisville man in racketeering enterprise that engaged in forced labor
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Ellisville, Mo., man was convicted in federal court today for his role in a criminal enterprise involving illegal aliens working in 14 states, including employees at hotels in the Kansas City, Mo., area and in Branson, Mo.
Kristin Dougherty, 51, of Ellisville, was found guilty of all three counts contained in a Jan. 7, 2010, superseding indictment. Dougherty was convicted of racketeering, participating in a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) conspiracy, and wire fraud.
The federal RICO indictment alleges an extensive and profitable criminal enterprise in which hundreds of illegal aliens were employed at hotels and other businesses across the country. The criminal enterprise used false information to acquire fraudulent work visas for these foreign nationals. Many of these workers were recruited with false promises related to the terms, conditions, and nature of their employment. Once the enterprise obtained the workers’ presence in the United States, it maintained their labor through threats of deportation and other adverse immigration consequences.
Dougherty, as vice president of sales and marketing for Giant Labor Solutions, LLC, was involved in the recruitment and exploitation of foreign national workers. Dougherty also controlled three businesses that were used to facilitate the scheme: Anchor Building Services; People, Inc.; and Hotel and Resort Services. These businesses employed illegal workers and were used to obtain additional illegal workers.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City deliberated for four hours before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith, ending a trial that began Monday, Oct. 25, 2010.
Under federal statutes, Dougherty is subject to a sentence of up to 60 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $750,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Nine defendants have pleaded guilty to charges related to this case; three remaining defendants are fugitives.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William L. Meiners, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford and Trial Attorney Jim Felte with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. It was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Kansas Department of Revenue – Criminal Investigations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – FDNS and the Independence, Mo., Police Department in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.