Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Owner of raided Massachusetts firm admits he hired illegal aliens, will serve prison term

Francisco Insolia, former owner of a Massachusetts leather goods company, has pleaded guilty to charges that he hired and harbored illegal aliens. His plea marked the end of a case brought by federal authorities following a factory raid in March 2007 which resulted in the detention of 361 illegal aliens.

Insolia will serve a prison term of 12 to 18 months and pay a fine of $30,000.

The company, Michael Bianco Inc., will pay nearly $2 million in fines as well as restitution for the overtime owed to workers. Attorneys for the company entered guilty pleas on 18 counts of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants between 2004 and 2006.

Insolia admitted helping harbor and conceal illegal immigrants by allowing the company to submit false Social Security numbers to the government.

Two managers at the company pleaded guilty two weeks ago. Dilia Costa, 56, the company's production manager, pleaded guilty to hiring and harboring illegal aliens. Gloria Melo, 42, pleaded guilty to continuing to employ illegal workers after the company had reason to know they were illegal. The two women as well as Insolia will be sentenced in January.

Michael Bianco Inc. made military backpacks and other equipment for the federal government, for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The company was sold last year to Eagle Industries of Fenton, Mo.

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