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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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NYC Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting Lawyers

By Spodek Law Group | November 13, 2016
(Last Updated On: July 28, 2023)

Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:20 pm

The United States’ economy depends on foreign labor, provided by both immigrants and legal permanent residents, to help meet important business and financial needs. To accommodate these needs while maintaining firm control of the nation’s borders, Congress has established a legal framework under which immigrants may enter and remain in America.
Employers with needs for assistance in their businesses are able to advertise positions domestically and, if they are unable to find American workers to meet their full needs, can advertise internationally for foreign nationals to come to the United States to work.
Workers who come into the country as a sponsored employee may either work on a temporary basis (e.g. a seasonal employee working at a hotel during peak tourist season or a picker for particular seasonal produce) or on a more permanent basis (e.g. technology employees who move to Silicon Valley and hope to pursue a green card.)
To prevent the abuse of foreign workers, and to avoid the possibility that foreign workers will be cheaper to utilize than American employees, the United States government requires that employers accurately advertise the positions and attributes of them that are available to foreign workers. False advertising designed to deceive foreigners is fraud in foreign labor contracting, a serious federal crime.
Recent foreign labor contracting fraud cases have involved several types of false information provided to foreign employees. In many cases, employers have falsely made representations about the type of work that will be taking place or that someone will be studying, when in fact they will be working.
Other examples of foreign labor contracting fraud including failing to disclose that foreign workers are required to pay their employer for housing or misrepresenting the condition of the housing that will be provided to the employees. Similar schemes have also involved employers who required foreign workers to pay them for food and transportation, but failed to disclose this information in advance.
Another common example is foreign workers who are prevented by their employer from taking other jobs despite representations before they traveled to the United States that they would be able to work multiple jobs. Finally, some employers pay their employees less than the amount they promised and, in some cases, significantly less than the federal minimum wage.
In many cases, illegal activity in the deception of foreign workers occurs in conjunction with other federal crimes. For instance, the employer may have engaged in visa fraud by making false statements related to what the employees have been told and what their working conditions will be. And mistreating foreign workers may also be a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets wage and hour guidelines for employees.
A key element of cases involving foreign labor contracting fraud is whether the dishonesty involves a material aspect of the work that is advertised. Falsely describing the amount of satisfaction an employee will receive from their work is not illegal; misrepresenting the hours they will be required to work is a federal crime.
To discourage foreign labor contracting fraud, the federal government has set harsh penalties for those who engage in illegal behavior involving foreign labor and illegitimate visas. People found guilty of fraud in foreign labor contracting face five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 per count.
Visa fraud, the common corollary to charges of foreign labor contracting fraud, carries a sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on each count. Finally, wage and hour violations – which are typically part and parcel of foreign labor contracting fraud cases – can lead to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each violation.
If you or a loved one is facing an investigation or charges of fraud in foreign labor contracting, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Immigration law is complex, making expertise in this area – as well as broader experience in white collar crime cases – essential for a successful defense.
An attorney with knowledge and experience in foreign labor contracting cases can work with you to defend your legal rights, negotiate potential plea agreements with prosecutors, and – if necessary – present a strong defense before a judge and jury. As the investigation proceeds, you need a savvy legal advisor by your side.

The Crucial Role of Foreign Labor in the United States and the Importance of Preventing Abuse

The very backbone of the United States’ economy hugely relies on the diligent contributions made by both immigrants and legal permanent residents. Foreign labor fuels vital business sectors and addresses pressing financial needs, ensuring a thriving and robust American market. To ensure a harmonious balance between addressing employment needs and maintaining strict control over the nation’s borders, Congress has set up a comprehensive legal framework whereby immigrants are allowed to enter and remain in America.

Opportunities and Regulations for Businesses in Need of Foreign Assistance

Countless businesses across the United States continuously experience an insatiable need for assistance. Thankfully, they can pursue various options to satisfy their requirements. They can advertise positions domestically, but if they still can’t find suitable American candidates, they are permitted to look abroad for foreign nationals who are ready and willing to work in the United States.

These enthusiastic workers can enter the country as a sponsored employee and are offered the opportunity to work on either a temporary basis (e.g., a seasonal employee or a picker for harvest projects) or a more permanent basis (e.g., technology experts hoping to secure a green card).

Preventing Exploitation and Misrepresentation in Foreign Labor Contracting

The United States government takes serious precautions to prevent the exploitation and abuse of foreign workers and to stop businesses from cutting costs by choosing to hire cheap foreign labor over American employees. Rules and regulations are in place to ensure that employers must provide accurate information about the positions they offer to foreign workers and any false advertising designed to deceive them is considered fraud in foreign labor contracting, a crime punishable under federal law.

Common Cases of Foreign Labor Contracting Fraud: A Deep Dive

Recent foreign labor contracting fraud cases have unveiled several types of false information being provided to foreign employees. In many instances, employers have deceitfully made:

  • False claims about the nature of work
  • Misrepresentations about study opportunities
  • Undisclosed requirements of paying for housing
  • Distorted accounts of living conditions
  • Hidden charges for food and transportation
  • Prohibitions from taking other jobs, despite prior approval
  • Lower-than-promised wages, even less than the federal minimum wage

The Interconnection between Foreign Labor Contracting Fraud and Other Federal Crimes

Alarmingly, in many situations involving illegal activity and foreign worker deception, the employer has also engaged in other federal offenses. Visa fraud is commonly found to coexist alongside foreign labor contracting fraud, often due to false statements made concerning the employees’ job expectations and working conditions. Additionally, businesses mistreating foreign workers may also be violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, which enforces wage and hour protocols.

Harsh Federal Penalties to Discourage Foreign Labor Contracting Fraud

To send a strong message against illegal behavior involving foreign labor and illegitimate visas, the federal government has assigned severe penalties for those found guilty. Offenders can face a prison sentence of up to five years and fines as high as $250,000 per count for fraud in foreign labor contracting. Simultaneously, visa fraud convictions attract a sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment along with a $250,000 fine for each count. Wage and hour violations, often part of foreign labor contracting fraud cases, are met with up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each offense.

Seeking Aid from Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you or someone you know is facing investigations or charges of fraud in foreign labor contracting, it is imperative to seek the guidance of a skilled criminal defense attorney without delay. Knowledge and expertise in the intricate field of immigration law, along with broader experience in white-collar crime cases, could mean the difference between success and failure in your defense.

An attorney well-versed in foreign labor contracting issues will diligently work with you to defend your legal rights, negotiate potential plea agreements with prosecutors, and, if necessary, present a compelling defense before a judge and jury. As the investigation unfurls, the support of a shrewd and savvy legal advisor will prove invaluable in ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.

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