Businesses beware, the federal government is coming for you if you hire illegal aliens!
Contractor Robert Pratt was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for hiring illegal aliens to work for his company in the home building industry. This dirtbag used the illegal alien labor for cheap workers and to avoid paying payroll taxes like unemployment. He was quickly picked up by county authorities upon sentencing for not paying these taxes.
Robert Pratt, who lives in Florence, Tennessee, ran Progressive Builders and Pratt’s Quality Construction in Florence, Kentucky. Pratt's businesses supplied framing and drywall crews for homebuilder Fischer Homes.
"I never intended to get anyone in trouble, ... I never thought it was that big a deal ... when I was doing it."
- Contractor and criminal employer Robert Pratt
The judge also chastised Pratt for hiring illegal aliens instead of US workers and therefore putting legitimate businesses at a disadvantage.
Howard Pratt, Robert Pratt's son, was sentenced to 12 months and a day.
Jacqueline Pratt-Medina, Robert Pratt's daughter, was sentenced to 6 months house arrest and 3 years probation for her part in the business.
Leopoldo Medina, Jacqueline Pratt-Medina's husband and an illegal alien, received five months in prison for hiring illegal aliens.
Alfredo Medina-Mejia, Jacqueline Pratt-Medina's brother-in-law and an illegal alien, received five months in prison for hiring illegal aliens.
Luciano Salazar, crew chief at Pratt's company, received a five-month prison sentence.
Ruben Trejo, a naturalized American citizen, was sentenced to 6 months with an ankle bracelet and six years probation
Jose Trejo-Soto, Ruben Trejo's son and an illegal alien who was previously deported, received a sentence of 12 months and one day for recruiting illegal aliens in Mexico.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning told Pratt during the hearing that his role in organizing, paying, housing and transporting the illegal workers to their jobs called for a substantial sentence. Pratt not only used his cultural connections to Mexican workers to take advantage of them - he is bilingual and of Mexican descent - but he used his own children to set up and run some of his companies, Bunning said.
Pratt also betrayed his fellow countrymen in the United States by using the illegal immigrants, a cheap source of labor that denies better paying jobs to those here legally and puts honest businesses at a competitive disadvantage, said Bunning.
Robert Pratt thought he was free until he had to begin serving his 1½-year sentence on Jan. 7 for using illegal labor. Instead, deputies hauled him off to the Boone County jail on a charge he had not paid workers’ compensation assessments to Kentucky.
Pratt set up front companies in his children’s names that knowingly used illegal immigrants, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McBride said. Some of the construction companies operated by the family included Pratt Quality Construction, Progressive Builders Inc., HPF Inc. and HJP Construction Inc.
I hope we see more of this throughout the country. A few unscrupulous business owners and employers behind bars will teach these dirtbag businesses that they need to hire legal workers and stop employing slave labor, evading taxes and putting legitimate businesses out of work.
Also think about this, if these building contractors will ignore federal laws pertaining to hiring illegal aliens and paying taxes, imagine what building code laws and permits they are also ignoring in order to save a buck.
And yes I do hope they all have a very hard time in prison.
If Pratt had only learned how the rich and politically connected do it (Republican and Democrat) he could have saved himself this inconvenience.
Pratt should have studied the case of Linda Chavez, Republican George Bush's nominee for Secretary of Labor. It appeared (seemed as if) Chavez had an illegal alien from Guatemala working as a 'live-in' housekeeper (maid). Chavez initially claimed she had no idea this Guatemalan woman (who spoke little or no English) was an illegal alien. Later Chavez fessed-up that she always knew this woman was illegal. Nonetheless, Chavaz explained that illegal or not, she (Chavez) was not an 'employer' of the maid... errr... illegal alien... errr... 'poor woman who needed help'. Instead, Chavez simply claimed that this woman was a guest whom Chavez was compassionately helping, by letting her live in Chavez's house. And the money that Chavez paid her? Oh that was a free gift to help out this poor woman. It wasn't 'pay'. Marta Mercado, the illegal alien, said she did 'chores' for Chavez, who gave her money on occasion as an act of charity. Mercado continued, saying that Chavez "knew I was not legal in this country," and "She [Chavez] knew I didn't have my green card." Chavez herself admitted in her book, "An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation Of An Ex-liberal", on page 11 (and following) that she knew (before the announcement of her nomination) that her having had an illegal alien maid might cause a problem with her confirmation. How many days did Republican, politically connected, Chavez spend in jail? Zero. Lesson: Just because an illegal alien is living in your house, keeping it clean while you pay her money periodically does NOT mean that the illegal alien is your maid, and it does NOT mean you are her boss, paying wages to her, as long as you are wealthy or politically connected.
That's the case of a politically connected Republican. Now an example from the Democrat column. Anyone remember Zoe Baird, Democrat Bill Clinton's politically connected nominee for the position of Attorney General of the United States? Does "Nannygate" ring a bell? Same crime, same politically connected level of wealth, but this time on the Democrat side. The only minor difference here is that Baird did not adopt the ruse that her (illegal alien) maid and chauffeur were doing 'favors' for her while she periodically gave them money as a selfless act of charity. How many days did Democrat, politically connected, Baird spent in jail? Zero.
This list could go on and on. Numerous examples exist from both sides of the political aisle. What are we saying though? Now we have the situation here of an entrepreneur (Pratt), effectively doing the same thing as Chavez and Baird, and you want him to rot in jail? What about Chavez and Baird and the many other politically-connected or wealthy scofflaws like them? Why do they get a free pass from you? If I were the owner of your media company, I'd send you back to your desk and make you start ALL articles about employers of illegal aliens with the following:
"Although politically connected Republican Linda Chavez got off scott-free for employing illegal aliens at less than market pay-rates, and politically connected Democrat Zoe Baird got off scott-free for employing illegal aliens at less than market pay-rates, I know which side my bread is buttered on, so I will rail in this column about this non wealthy, non politically-connected smuck with an entrepreneurial spirit and why he needs to be in prison, and good riddance!"
After you begin with that, then you could go off on your "...I'm outraged!..." tantrum about some low-level, no-name smuck in Tennessee.
Unfortunately, as long as we in the trenches (un-wealthy, un-connected Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, and Liberals) continue to fight amongst ourselves, the real criminals will continue to get away with their crimes (REF: Cheney(R), Pelosi(D), Rove(R), Reid(D), et al.). The wealthy and the powerful have no real political connection or loyalty other than to money and power. They effectively keep the "masses" at bay by stirring, prodding and perpetuating the Conservative -vs- Liberal, and the Democrat -vs- Republican infighting. It is beyond me how any educated rational person can believe that "Republicans are always wrong, all the time" or that "Democrats are always wrong, all the time". But yet that conundrum exists.
When we teach our children about right and wrong, how do we explain
that? (e.g. "You'll know in your heart, child, what the right thing to do is… unless you're a [Republican | Democrat | Liberal | Conservative]… they can't ever tell wrong from right.")
Every time that a Democrat looks the other way because the accused scofflaw has self-applied a "Democrat" label on his jacket, injustice is done.
Every time that a Republican looks the other way because the accused scofflaw has self-applied a "Republican" label on his jacket, injustice is done.
This is getting to be the length of a mini-novel, so I'll stop here.
Posted by: Joe Hepperle on November 17, 2009 05:32 PM