Owner, Gire Roofing, Inc., Guilty of Visa Fraud, Harboring Illegal Aliens
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In a court filing late yesterday, U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough found Edwin J. Gire, owner of Gire Roofing, Inc., and its corporate parent, Grayson Enterprises, Inc., of Champaign, Ill., guilty on all counts of visa fraud and harboring illegal aliens. In addition, Judge Myerscough’s verdict includes the finding that the business property, located at 309 West Hensley Road, in Champaign, was used to facilitate harboring of illegal aliens and is therefore subject to forfeiture. Sentencing has been scheduled on June 4, 2018.
During six days of trial, in November 2017, the court found that evidence presented by the government established that from 2011 to 2014, Gire, 46, through an immigration attorney, submitted four I-129 petitions to the Department of Homeland Security seeking to hire H-2B visa workers. Attached to each of the four petitions were multiple fraudulent roofing contracts to justify the number of H-2B visa workers requested. Testimony from numerous witnesses at trial established that the contracts detailed roofing jobs that customers never agreed to and contained forged signatures of the alleged customers or their representatives.
Further, the court found that undisputed evidence at trial proved that Gire knew or recklessly disregarded the fact that the three aliens listed in the indictment were not lawfully in the United States. Gire allowed the three aliens to live in a building owned by his company. Gire did this to make the aliens’ employment as roofers for Grayson Enterprises attractive despite the fact that Grayson Enterprises was paying them less than the applicable prevailing wage. By giving the aliens a place to live, the court found that Gire safeguarded the aliens from the authorities by making it more difficult for authorities to locate them.
On Oct. 20, 2017, Gire entered pleas of guilty to three misdemeanor counts of unlawful employment of aliens.
At sentencing, the statutory penalty for each count of visa fraud and harboring illegal aliens is up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The unlawful employment of aliens charges carry a penalty of up to six months in prison and a maximum fine of $3,000 for each unauthorized alien employed.
The charges were investigated by the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service; the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller and Matthew Weir are prosecuting the case.