Hayward Man Sentenced To More Than 8½ Years In Prison On Forced Labor And Illegal Harboring Charges
OAKLAND - Job Torres Hernandez was sentenced to 103 months in prison and was also ordered to pay $919,738.64 of unpaid wages in restitution, after being convicted earlier this year on charges that he obtained forced labor from victims and harbored illegal aliens for commercial advantage or private financial gain, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin. The sentence was handed down today by the Honorable Jeffrey S. White, U.S. District Judge.
Torres, 38, of Hayward, Calif., was convicted of the charges on March 18, 2019, after a 10-day jury trial. The evidence at trial demonstrated that since at least May 2015, Torres owned construction companies in Northern California at which he employed workers to whom he paid little to nothing for their labor. Torres recruited workers from Mexico to work for his construction companies and then refused to pay them the wages they had earned. Further, Torres knew the workers had come to, entered, and remained in the United States in violation of law; he kept the workers in squalid conditions and shielded them from detection while making them work as long as 24 consecutive hours at a time. Many victims testified at trial, with the assistance of an interpreter, about how Torres treated them. Witnesses testified that Torres paid them far less than what he had promised to pay them, and when they complained, Torres threatened them or their family members. Specifically, the evidence demonstrated Torres warned his victims that if they reported him, then he would harm them physically, have associates in Mexico harm their family, or have them deported. The evidence also demonstrated that Torres told his victims that if they went to police or filed suit against him, no one would believe them. In addition, Torres housed dozens of workers on makeshift beds in a commercial warehouse in Hayward and other properties including a garage in Hayward. The workers had limited access to toilets and showers, and at times, the properties were locked, preventing the workers from leaving. The evidence demonstrated Torres harbored these individuals for the purpose of obtaining an advantage in the construction industry and for his private financial gain.
On December 6, 2018, a federal grand jury handed down a superseding indictment, charging Torres with one count of harboring illegal aliens for commercial advantage or private financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) and (B)(i), and one count of forced labor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1589(a). The jury convicted Torres of both counts.
Torres was remanded into custody on the day the jury rendered its verdict, and he remains in custody pending assignment to a Bureau of Prisons facility. He was also sentenced to a three year term of supervised release to begin at the conclusion of his prison term.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ravi T. Narayan and Jonathan U. Lee are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Vanessa Quant, Jessica Rodriguez Gonzalez, and Kimberly Richardson. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Human Trafficking Unit; Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division; and the San Francisco Police Department’s Special Victims Unit.