After conducting a years-long investigation, authorities have charged an illegal alien business owner with exploiting workers by gaining "unlawful profit by employing illegal aliens and paying them below-market wages" as well as illegally owning firearms.
According to the press release, "unlawfully present Mexican national Juan Antonio Perez, 46, was indicted on federal felony charges May 7 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia pursuant to a years-long investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that culminated in the simultaneous execution of six federal search warrants in Georgia and Tennessee last week resulting in the federal criminal charges issued Wednesday."
Perez's business, Aztec Construction, allegedly operated by employing illegal aliens and paying them a below-market wage which allowed his business to reap profit against competitors who were acting within the law. "Perez is also charged with being an illegal alien in possession of 14 firearms – federal law prohibits illegal aliens from possessing firearms," the press release says.
Perez's arrest highlights an often overlooked problem in the illegal immigration debate -- worker exploitation.
According to ICE, "Perez allegedly used the proceeds of his illegal activity to build a 7,500-square-foot house, bought other houses where he allowed some of his employees to live, and purchased more than 50 sports cars and heavily customized trucks."
Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta Nick S. Annan told media that, "Individuals, like Mr. Perez, who flagrantly violate federal law to give themselves an unfair business advantage are cheating both law-abiding employers and employees exploited by these unfair and illegal labor practices."
"This case is an illustration of serious threats to public safety on numerous levels," Annan added.
His large cache of weapons also raises additional concerns for authorities. “Perez not only broke the law by allegedly hiring illegal aliens at below-market wages and paying no taxes, he had a large assortment of weapons including shotguns and pistols that he had acquired through various means other than buying them himself,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak told media.
The case will now head to trial. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Traynor is prosecuting the case.