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Press Release

McPherson Couple Pleads Guilty To Employing Undocumented Workers

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Kansas

WICHITA, KAN. – A married couple from India having no lawful status in the United States pleaded guilty Thursday to charges related to unlawful employment of undocumented workers, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

The couple, Satishkumar A. Patel, 47, and Daxaben S. Patel, 36, both of McPherson, Kan., entered their guilty pleas Thursday before U.S. District Eric F. Melgren. Judge Melgren set sentencing for Nov. 25.

Satishkumar Patel pleaded guilty to engaging in a pattern or practice of employing undocumented workers, failure to collect federal income and Social Security taxes, and operating an unlicensed money remitting business.  His wife, Daxaben Patel, pleaded guilty to the unlicensed money remitting business charge. The charges carry maximum penalties of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

As part of the plea agreement, the Patels agreed to forfeit more than $700,000 in cash, money from bank accounts, and gold seized by the government in the case. Those assets represent proceeds of the Patel’s unlawful activities.

“This is what happens when employers ignore U.S. employment, business and tax laws,” Grissom said. “They face prosecution for their crimes and the loss of assets obtained in connection with those crimes. Contrary to what some may think, it is not legal to employ people not authorized to work in this country, nor is it legal to ignore our business and tax laws.”

The case came about when inspectors from the Kansas Department of Revenue Alcohol Beverage Control division observed employees at the Route 56 Express gas station and convenience store in McPherson selling tobacco products to minors. The investigators determined that several employees at Route 56 Express were not lawfully in the United States, nor were they authorized to be employed. Local and federal investigators then assisted, which led to the return of federal indictment in June.

Grissom praised the investigative agencies that worked on the case, which included the KDOR Office of Special Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, the McPherson, Kan., Police Dept., the Kansas Department of Labor and the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson.

Updated February 4, 2016