Labor trafficker sentenced for encouraging the illegal entry of Guatemalan nationals, including unaccompanied minors, into the United States
A Uniontown man was sentenced to nearly three years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to hire undocumented workers at a chain of restaurants in Stark and Summit counties and pay them less than minimum wage and sometimes only in tips, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District.
Miguel Castro, 44, was sentenced to 33 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi. Castro owned the “Mariachi Locos” and “Mariachi Cocos” chain of restaurants with locations in Akron, Stow, Tallmadge and North Canton. He previuosly pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to harbor aliens.
Castro was also ordered to forfeit $100,000 and pay $7,792 in restitution.
His wife, Monica Castro, 44, was sentenced to three months of incarceration and five months of home detention after previously pleading guilty to related crimes.
“These restaurant owners took advantage of their workers’ immigration status for their own profit,” Dettelbach said. "They ignored the laws and regulations, and now must be held accountable for their actions."
The Castros owned the restaurants since 2002. They defendants engaged in the practice of hiring undocumented workers who were illegally present in the United States and conspired to shield these workers from detection by paying them in cash, excluding them from payrolls, leasing housing for the workers and aiding the workers in obtaining fraudulent work documentation, according to court documents.
They also used the U.S. mail to submit false wage reports to the state of Ohio. The defendants’ employment practices enabled them to enrich themselves because they paid the undocumented workers less than minimum wage and did not pay these workers for overtime hours worked. In some cases, the defendants paid these workers only the tips that the workers received from their customers, according to court documents.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip J. Tripi, following a joint investigation by agents of Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor -- Office of Inspector General.