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April 19, 2021Chicago, IL, United StatesHuman Smuggling/Trafficking

Illinois woman sentenced to prison on federal labor trafficking charge

CHICAGO — A woman in Illinois who trafficked numerous undocumented immigrants from Guatemala was sentenced today to six and a half years in federal prison April 19.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Concepcion Malinek, 50, of Cicero, Illinois, pleaded guilty last year to one count of labor trafficking. For the crime, she was sentenced to 78 months in prison and ordered to pay $112,545 in restitution to the victims.

“Malinek controlled her victims’ every move, knowing their whereabouts at all times, the exact amount of each paycheck she stole from them, and what levers to push and pull to keep them all in line,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher V. Parente argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “Malinek knew her victims were scared of deportation and separation from their loved ones far more than they dreaded the abuse and exploitive actions she imposed on them.”

From 2009 to 2019, Malinek assisted at least ten undocumented Guatemalan immigrants with illegally entering the U.S. and forced them to work to pay off their debt to her. Malinek threatened the victims with deportation and separation from their children to force the victims to continue to work and pay Malinek the debt she demanded from them.

Homeland Security Investigations along with the Chicago Field Office of the FBI, U.S. Department of Labor, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and Chicago Police Department investigated the case.

HSI is a directorate of ICE, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

To report a crime, call 866-347-2423 (TTY for hearing impaired: 802-872-6196) or visit the ICE Tip Line.

Updated: 04/20/2021