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LACEY FLOORING COMPANY OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO AIDING AND ABETTING THE SMUGGLING OF AN ILLEGAL ALIEN
Man Admits Forcing Illegal Alien to Pay Off Smuggling Debt

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2008

RAMON MALDONADO, 49, of Olympia, Washington pleaded guilty August 26, 2008, in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, to Aiding and Abetting the Smuggling of an Illegal Alien. MALDONADO was formerly the owner of Ramon’s Flooring and Carpet Installation, Inc., of Lacey, Washington. MALDONADO is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle on November 24, 2008.

According to the Plea Agreement, in June 2005, RAMON MALDONADO offered to employ a person (J.G.) in his flooring business. J.G. is a Mexican National who was living in Apatzingan, Michoacan, Mexico. RAMON MALDONADO provided money to J.G. to pay his smuggling fees. Once J.G. arrived in the United States RAMON MALDONADO required him to repay his smuggling fees, and required J.G. to work for his flooring company to repay those fees. RAMON MALDONADO admits he told J.G. that he could be arrested and deported because he was in the country illegally.

RAMON MALDONADO was indicted in August 2007. The indictment details that J.G. was required to live in the garage as well as on the residential property of RAMON MALDONADO in July, August and September of 2007. The indictment says J.G. worked 14 to 17 hours a day installing carpet and providing manual labor to the flooring company. Shortly after federal agents arrested MALDONADO in January 2008, his business changed its name to JC Flooring.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, RAMON MALDONADO will pay $8,798 in restitution to J.G. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a twelve month prison sentence for MALDONADO. MALDONADO also faces a fine of up to $250,000 and a three year period of supervised release following imprisonment.

The case was investigated by U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG), the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of the Army Criminal Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ye-Ting Woo. Ms. Woo heads up the U.S. Attorney’s Office Task Force on Human Trafficking.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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