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Press Release

Orlando Woman Indicted For Scheme To Allow Construction Contractors To Conceal The Employment Of Undocumented Aliens And Evade Workers’ Compensation And Payroll Taxes

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

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the return of an indictment charging Orquidea Quezada (48, Orlando) with 49 counts of wire fraud and one count of operating as an unlicensed money transmitter. Each wire fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. The money transmitting count carries a maximum penalty of 5 years’ imprisonment. The indictment also notifies Quezada that the United States intends to seek forfeiture in the amount of $870,000, which is the approximate amount she made from the alleged scheme. Quezada was arrested on Saturday, March 26, 2016, by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and taskforce officers from Seminole and Orange Counties.

According to the indictment, between May 2013 and May 2016, Quezada (doing business as Orquicely Construction, LLC) applied for workers’ compensation insurance policies to cover two to seven employees, and an annual payroll of about $100,000. The insurance companies issued the policies for annual premiums based on the payroll information set forth in the applications.

Quezada then “rented” the insurance policies to numerous construction subcontractors who employed hundreds of workers, many of whom were undocumented aliens. To do so, she directed her insurance agent to e-mail the subcontractors a certificate of insurance that implied the insurance would cover their workers. The subcontractors wrote payroll checks to Orquicely Construction for work performed by their employees. Quezada then cashed those checks and paid the subcontractors’ employees in cash, through work crew leaders. Quezada kept five percent of each check as a fee for her services. Between May 2013 and November 2015, Quezada funneled approximately $17.4 million dollars to the subcontractors’ employees through her company.

Neither Orquicely Construction nor the subcontractors deducted state or federal taxes, such as for Medicare and Social Security, from the workers’ pay. The scheme allowed the subcontractors to avoid these taxes and workers’ compensation taxes, and to conceal their employment of undocumented aliens that were working illegally in the United States.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of one or more federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (Jacksonville and Orlando), the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arnold B. Corsmeier.

Updated March 28, 2016

Indictment [PDF, ]
Financial Fraud