Operators of Suburban Chicago Manufacturing Company Charged with Illegally Hiring Undocumented Workers
CHICAGO — The operators of a suburban Chicago manufacturing company have been charged in federal court with knowingly hiring and harboring undocumented workers.
DORA KUZELKA, 81, of Elgin, KENNETH KUZELKA, 62, of Chicago, KARI KUZELKA, 56, of Elgin, and KEITH KUZELKA, 58, of Elgin, are charged with one count of knowingly harboring an illegal alien and one count of knowingly engaging in a pattern or practice of hiring illegal aliens.
The Kuzelkas knowingly hired at least 18 undocumented workers at KSO MetalFab Inc., a sheet metal fabrication company in Streamwood, Ill., according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Keith Kuzelka left the company last year, while the three other Kuzelkas continue to serve in executive management positions, the complaint states.
Dora Kuzelka, Kenneth Kuzelka and Kari Kuzelka were arrested this morning, while Keith Kuzelka self-surrendered to authorities this afternoon. All four defendants made initial appearances in federal court in Chicago this afternoon and were ordered released on recognizance bonds. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila M. Finnegan scheduled status hearings for Oct. 29, 2019.
The complaint and arrests were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and James M. Gibbons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Social Security Administration provided valuable assistance. The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Young and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Parente and Michelle Petersen.
According to the complaint, HSI’s Chicago office conducted a civil audit of KSO MetalFab in 2017 and determined that 36 of the company’s 67 employees were suspected of using fraudulent work authorization documents to verify their eligibility for employment. HSI served the company with a written notice of the suspected violations, and the company responded by attesting that it had terminated all 36 of the identified employees. KSO MetalFab later re-hired at least 18 of the previously terminated workers by utilizing a staffing agency, the complaint states. KSO MetalFab instructed the workers to go to the staffing agency so that they could return to the company after the audit, the charges allege. Many of the workers used the same names that they previously used before the audit, the complaint states.
The public is reminded that a criminal complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Knowingly harboring an illegal alien carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, while knowingly engaging in a pattern or practice of hiring illegal aliens is punishable by up to six months in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.