Owner of Lawn Care Company Sentenced to a Year in Prison for False Statement About Payments From Mexican Workers
OKLAHOMA CITY – FELIPE GUTIERREZ, 48, was sentenced today to twelve months in prison for making a false statement to the United States Department of Labor ("DOL") about his employment of Mexican workers, announced United States Attorney Timothy J. Downing.
According to an Information filed February 12, 2019, Mr. Gutierrez, who owns and operates Felipe’s Lawn Care—a local lawn care company in Oklahoma City—falsely represented to the DOL that he had not sought or received any payment from his employees in connection with obtaining certification for their employment from the DOL. Mr. Gutierrez pleaded guilty at a March 18 hearing, at which he admitted he submitted an H-2B Application for Temporary Employment Certification to the DOL in order to obtain permission to hire workers from Mexico. The application required Mr. Gutierrez to certify that he had not sought or received any payment of any kind from these prospective workers. He stated on the form that he had not, when in fact he had demanded and received payment from them.
At a sentencing hearing this morning, U.S. District Judge Robin J. Cauthron heard testimony describing some of the methods that Mr. Gutierrez used to ensure he received these illegal payments, including his participation in an assault upon one employee that caused serious bodily injury. Judge Cauthron sentenced Mr. Gutierrez to twelve months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. The court also ordered him to pay $74,800 in restitution to the Mexican workers from whom he procured these illegal fees.
This case was the result of an investigation by the FBI Oklahoma City Division and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia E. Barry.
Reference is made to court records for further information.