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03/08/2013

Operator of temporary employment agencies in Pennsylvania sentenced for harboring illegal aliens, mail fraud

SCRANTON, Pa. – The operator of temporary employment agencies that provided contracted services in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was sentenced Thursday to one year in prison on federal charges of harboring illegal aliens and mail fraud. The sentence is the result of a multi-agency investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Pennsylvania State Police.

Ethan Nguyen, 34, of Phoenixville, Pa., the operator of Four Seasons Services, a temporary employment agency with offices in Philadelphia that provided day labor employees, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik.

Nguyen was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release, pay a $300 fine and pay $45,128 in restitution to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

Court documents from the investigation revealed that Nguyen, along with co-defendants Andri Gunawan and Eleni Nguyen, ran an employment agency that contracted with various third party businesses to provide temporary day labor employees.

The co-defendants would fulfill these contracts by hiring illegal aliens and paying them cash "under the table." In doing so, they failed to pay various fees and federal, state and local taxes, enabling the employment agency to increase its profits by providing such temporary labor.

Four Seasons Services later changed business names to Direct Staffing Services, Express Staffing Services and First Choice Staffing.

Ethan Nguyen, Andri Gunawan and Eleni Nguyen all pleaded guilty to the charges. Eleni Nguyen is scheduled for sentencing March 19, and Gunawan is scheduled for sentencing April 4.