Hotel Owner Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Immigration Violations
An El Paso, Texas hotel owner was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison last week for conspiracy to smuggle, transport and/or harbor illegal aliens, money laundering and tax fraud. This was a result of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigation of Song U. Chon, 55, owner of the Gateway Hotel.
Chon was sentenced to 180 months in federal prison $481,812.32 in restitution to the government, a money judgment of $2,305,497 and an additional judgment of $873,910 against the YCL, Inc, of which Chon was president. 24 other defendants were convicted and sentenced as well.
ICE reported that they conspired and devised a plan to smuggle hundreds of illegal aliens into the U.S. from Mexico, Central America, South America, Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. Chon harbored them in the hotel, provided shelter and clothing, collected a "sponsor" fee of about $2,000 per alien and then shipped them to their final destination.
While this is an egregious case of harboring aliens, it is futher proof of ICE's commitment to investigating U.S. employers for compliance with immigration laws.
Contact us if you would like assistance in determining your risk level regarding immigration compliance and how to ensure that you are protected in case of an ICE I-9 audit.
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