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February 16, 2015Kansas City, KSUnited StatesWorksite Enforcement

Kansas hotel owner sentenced to 21 months for employing illegal aliens

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A suburban Kansas City hotel co-owner was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to nearly two years in prison for employing illegal aliens.
This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Department of Labor, the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR) and the Overland Park (Kansas) Police Department.

Rhonda R. Bridge, 42, of Overland Park, Kansas, was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for employing illegal aliens, who were paid less than other employees. In addition to her prison sentence, Bridge also agreed to forfeit her interest in two hotels and the funds derived from the crime.

Bridge and her husband, Munir Ahmad Chaudary, 53, also of Overland Park, had each previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens for personal gain. In their pleas they admitted employing illegal aliens at the following two hotels they owned:

  • Clarion Hotel at 7000 W. 108th in Overland Park
  • Clarion Hotel at 11828 NW Plaza Circle in Kansas City, Missouri

Chaudary and Bridge lowered their hotels’ operating costs and put themselves at a competitive advantage by not paying social security, workers compensation and unemployment insurance for the illegal aliens.

According to court records, the investigation began in December 2011 when HSI special agents and agents with the state’s Department of Revenue received information that the owners of the hotels were employing foreign nationals who were not lawfully present in the United States. In June 2012, an undercover agent posing as an illegal alien got a job at the Overland Park hotel. He was hired even though he told his employers he was not authorized to work in the United States.

In 2011 and 2012 the defendants filed false and fraudulent Quarterly Wage Reports and Unemployment Tax Returns with the Kansas Department of Labor, in which they underreported the number of employees at the Overland Park hotel, the amount of total wages paid and the amount of unemployment taxes due.

Bridge is the third person to be sentenced in the case. Judith Vanzant, a hotel manager, and Syed Naqvi, a Pakistani native who worked as a desk clerk, have already been sentenced. Co-defendant Munir Ahmad Chaudary is awaiting sentencing.

Updated: 02/19/2015