Roofing companies conspire to hire illegal immigrants

Roofing companies conspire to hire illegal immigrants

Several roofing companies in Kansas City, Mo., as well as their owners and some employees, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for relying on illegal immigrants for their work forces.

Tony Evans and Luis Hernandez-Bautista were charged in a 15-count indictment on May 29. On June 18, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents served arrest warrants, arresting six of the nine people charged. Thirty-four illegal immigrants also were arrested on administrative charges.

"Today's indictment alleges that the roofing companies used a business model that relied upon hiring illegal aliens," said U.S. Attorney John F. Wood on June 18. "In fact, the indictment alleges that when his workers were arrested and deported, the business owner helped pay to have them smuggled back into the country a few days later so he could put them right back to work."

Roofing companies also were charged, including LH Roofing LLP, LHB Roofing Inc., Metro Roofing Services Inc. and Mid-Continent Specialists Inc. (doing business as New Century Roofing). Evans created Metro Roofing Services and once was president of Mid-Continent Specialists. Hernandez-Bautista created LH Roofing and LHB Roofing.

According to the indictment, at the end of March, Hernandez-Bautista and 22 other illegal immigrants were arrested and 21 of those immigrants were deported to Mexico. In April, Mid-Continent Specialists and Evans gave $11,000 to Hernandez-Bautista, who smuggled 15 of the illegal immigrants back into the U.S. to work for Mid-Continent Specialists.

At the end of April, Mid-Continent Specialists petitioned to make Hernandez-Bautista a lawful permanent resident, and he was able to employ illegal immigrants through his own companies—as subcontractors for Mid-Continent Specialists—when he received that status. Mid-Continent Specialists allegedly paid illegal workers by laundering more than $6 million through Hernandez-Bautista's companies.

LH Roofing, LHB Roofing, Metro Roofing Services and Mid-Continent Specialists are charged with two conspiracies regarding encouraging, inducing, aiding and abetting illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. for "commercial advantage and private financial gain," as well as conspiracies to commit money laundering.

LH Roofing, LHB Roofing and Mid-Continent Specialists also were charged with five counts of encouraging, inducing, aiding and abetting illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. for commercial advantage and private financial gain. Hernandez-Bautista and Evans face similar charges.

Wood says the charges are simply accusations and supporting evidence must be presented to a federal trial jury.

This Web exclusive information is a supplement to The states take a stand.