[Stop-traffic] News/US: Czech man found guilty of harboring, employing illegal aliens

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Czech man found guilty of harboring, employing illegal aliens
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@mindspring.com)
Date: Mon Nov 06 2000 - 10:50:04 EST


Czech man found guilty of harboring, employing illegal aliens
The Associated Press, August 2, 2000

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (AP) -- A federal jury returned a guilty verdict
Wednesday against a Czech man accused of harboring illegal aliens to work
for his cleaning service.

After 1.5 days of deliberation, the jury convicted Roman Kosmel, 26, of two
counts of harboring aliens, two counts of encouraging aliens to live in the
United States, one count of hiring illegal aliens, three counts of money
laundering and one count of marriage fraud.

Prosecutors said Kosmel, a citizen of the Czech Republic and himself an
illegal alien, hired up to 40 illegal Czech nationals to work for his
cleaning service, a subcontractor of Chicago-based Universal Maintenance.
They said Kosmel charged his workers for finding them work and for
providing them with fake Social Security cards.

Kosmel was arrested Oct. 12 in Pompano Beach, Fla., following an
investigation by several U.S. law enforcement and immigration agencies.

More than 30 government witnesses, including about 12 of Kosmel's Czech
employees, testified during the eight-day trial. Prosecutors presented more
than 700 exhibits, including phone records, bank records and various
fraudulent identification cards.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Lang said the evidence proved Kosmel knowingly
helped the immigrants find employment in the United States, although none
was qualified to work under immigration law.

Kosmel defended himself and called four witnesses -- three of his former
employees and an agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service --
to try to show he was unaware that the 40 Czech immigrants on his payroll
were not authorized to work in the United States.

``These people were illegal, the defendant knew it,'' Lang said. ``That's
why he got them counterfeit Social Security cards.''

U.S. District Judge Joe B. McDade set sentencing for Nov. 3. Kosmel faces
more than 100 years in prison if given the maximum penalty on all counts.
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