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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Missouri man sentenced to 5 years for racketeering enterprise

KANSAS CITY, Mo - A local man was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to five years in federal prison for his role in a criminal enterprise involving illegal aliens working in 14 states.

This sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI, U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Criminal Investigations, the Kansas Department of Revenue's Criminal Investigations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the Independence, Mo., Police Department, in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.

Kristin Dougherty, 51, of Ellisville, Mo., was sentenced April 27 in the Western District of Missouri to 60 months in federal prison without parole.

On Oct. 28, Dougherty was found guilty of all three counts contained in a Jan. 7, 2010 superseding indictment. Dougherty was convicted of racketeering, participating in a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) conspiracy, and wire fraud.

The federal RICO indictment alleges an extensive and profitable criminal enterprise in which hundreds of illegal aliens were employed at hotels and other businesses across the country. The criminal enterprise used false information to acquire fraudulent work visas for these foreign nationals. Many of these workers were recruited with false promises related to the terms, conditions, and nature of their employment. Once the enterprise obtained the workers' presence in the United States, it maintained their labor through threats of deportation and other adverse immigration consequences.

Dougherty, as vice president of sales and marketing for Giant Labor Solutions LLC, recruited and exploited foreign national workers. Dougherty also controlled three businesses that were used to facilitate the scheme: Anchor Building Services, People Inc., and Hotel and Resort Services. These businesses employed illegal workers and were used to obtain additional illegal workers.

Nine defendants pleaded guilty to charges related to this case; three defendants are fugitives.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William L. Meiners, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford, and Trial Attorney Jim Felte with the U.S. Department of Justice's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.