HONOLULU - Two managers for an agricultural conglomerate based in Waipahu, Hawaii, have been indicted on a variety of federal charges, including aiding and abetting visa fraud, as a result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
David Kato, 51, and Glen Kelley McCaig, 43, who work for The Farms, were taken into custody this afternoon based on charges contained in a federal indictment unsealed today. In addition to the visa fraud allegations, the men are accused of abetting the misrepresentation of a Social Security number, employment eligibility fraud and providing false statements to federal investigators.
The charges stem from an ICE investigation into The Farms that began last July, when federal, state and local law enforcement officers executed federal search warrants at a Waipahu apartment complex and arrested 43 illegal aliens on administrative immigration violations. Subsequently, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii filed criminal charges against 23 of the aliens for employment fraud.
Under the indictment, Kato is charged with six felony counts and McCaig with 16. If convicted of all the charges, Kato faces up to 45 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine; McCaig faces 100 years in prison and a $4 million fine. The defendants made their initial appearance in federal court here this afternoon.
"Employers who exploit illegal alien labor and violate our nation's employment laws face serious consequences," said Wayne Wills, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Hawaii. "This indictment sends a strong deterrent message to other employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens."
"Undocumented workers and those who knowingly employ them deprive our citizens of employment opportunities, especially during these hard economic times," said U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo. "They are stealing jobs and wages from our people and their families, and they must be held accountable. Those who knowingly employ illegal aliens must pay for committing serious crimes. The U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to work with ICE to hold employers accountable for violating employment laws."
In 2008, ICE made more than 1,100 criminal arrests tied to worksite enforcement investigations. Of those charged criminally in these types of cases, 130 were business owners, managers, supervisors, or human resource employees. Altogether, ICE work-site investigations yielded 881 criminal convictions last fiscal year for crimes ranging from alien harboring and knowingly hiring illegal aliens, to identity theft and Social Security fraud. In addition to the criminal arrests, ICE also took 5,100 illegal aliens into custody on administrative immigration violations during work-site investigations.