Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Grand Island Lawn Company Owner Pleads Guilty to Harboring Illegal Immigrants. Yahoo business. David Wortman turned himself in for arrest last month, one day after U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement raided Cloudburst Lawn and Sprinkler and arrested 19 suspected illegal immigrants. Agents believed 11 of those arrested were from Mexico, six were from El Salvador and two were from Guatemala.Wortman was under investigation by ICE, the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Attorney Joe Stecher said in a news release. Wortman was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 22. In a plea deal, he agreed to be sentenced to 30 months in prison and to file new tax returns for 2005 and 2006. According to the criminal complaint, Wortman told federal officials that the company's gross sales in 2005 were more than $1.5 million. Stecher said Wortman cashed several checks from customers that were for less than $10,000 each but represented larger business dealings that should have been federally reported. Stecher said the 45 transactions totaled about $440,000 and were paid in groups of 22 to 108 checks. Under his plea agreement, Wortman agreed to forfeit the $440,000, not only for the unreported transactions, but also to pay $200,000 to the Labor Department to settle claims of unpaid overtime.

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