St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - A 33-year-old Byrnes Mill man was sentenced Thursday to fraud charges involving his employing illegal immigrants to support his landscaping business, U.S. Robert Callahan said.
According to court documents, between March 2007 and February 2010, Robert Brake and his company, identified as Brake Landscaping & Lawncare, illegally sub-contracted H-2B workers on a weekly basis at a profit of more than $2 an hour per worker.
The indictment also alleged that Brake incorporated Brake Snow and Ice Removal to facilitate year-round employment of temporary H-2B visa workers that didn't actually exist. The snow and ice removal company was the same company as the landscaping business.
Brake pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of employing illegal aliens in June 2012. The landscaping company pleaded guilty to one felony count to commit visa fraud that same day.
Robert Brake and the company were sentenced to two years of probation and paid a $145,000 forfeiture.
The H-2B non-immigrant visa program permits employers to hire foreign workers and perform temporary, non-agricultural services on a one-time, seasonal, peak-load or intermittent basis. There is a set limit on the number of foreign workers who may receive H-2B visa status during each government fiscal year.