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03/04/2010

Owner of Reno electronics firm faces federal charges for employing illegal aliens

RENO, Nev. - The owner of a Reno, Nev., electronics manufacturing company has been indicted by the federal grand jury on six counts of encouraging illegal aliens to reside in the United States and aiding and abetting, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Hamid Ali Zaidi, 62, owner of Vital Systems Corporation, was indicted Wednesday. According to the indictment, between March 2005 and May 2009, Zaidi allegedly encouraged six illegal aliens to work at his company and therefore to reside in the United States, knowing that such residence was in violation of federal law.

Zaidi was issued a summons and is scheduled for an initial appearance and arraignment April 13 before United States Magistrate Judge Valerie P. Cooke. If convicted, Zaidi faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is committed to ensuring that employers are held accountable for maintaining a legal workforce," said Gregory White, resident agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Reno. "Employers need to understand that the integrity of their workforce and their employment records are just as important to the federal government as the integrity of their tax files or banking records. Employers who knowingly violate the law will pay a price for their decision."

The investigation is being conducted by ICE and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian L. Sullivan.

In 2009, ICE implemented a new, comprehensive strategy to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the nation's lawful workforce. Under this strategy, ICE is focusing its resources on auditing and investigating employers suspected of cultivating illegal workplaces by knowingly employing illegal workers. The goal of the enforcement strategy is to promote national security, protect critical infrastructure and ensures fair labor standards.