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Man admits employing, exploiting people in US illegally

July 8, 2021 GMT

ROME, Ga. (AP) — A Mexican man living in Georgia has admitted to employing and exploiting people who were living in the U.S. illegally, federal prosecutors said.

Juan Antonio Perez, 48, came to the U.S. illegally in 1992 and has operated Aztec Framing since at least 2009, prosecutors said in a news release. He hired people living in the U.S. illegally, paying them below-market rates with no benefits or insurance and didn’t pay payroll taxes or Social Security, prosecutors said.

He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to harboring people in the country illegally for financial gain. His sentencing is set for Oct. 5.

“Perez endangered the livelihood of those who follow the laws governing employment, as well as the lives of those who attempt to illegally enter the United States seeking jobs like those he provided,” Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine said in the release.

His company has offices in Cartersville and Rossville in Georgia and in Hixson, Tennessee. He built a big house and bought more than 30 sports cars and customized trucks for himself and collected guns, prosecutors said. He also bought other homes where he allowed some of his workers to live. But he never reported any income to the Georgia Department of Labor.