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THAI INDICTED FOR DEFRAUDING FOREIGN NATIONAL EMPLOYEES AND HARBORING ILLEGAL ALIENS

According to the U.S. Attorney for Colorato Opas Sinprasong, was indicted on February 10, 2010 on charges of defrauding his foreign national employees, harboring illegal aliens, and other immigration and tax related charges.

According to the indictment, Opas Sinprasong was a citizen of Thailand who was in the United States in E-2 status. While in the United States he ran Thai and Japanese restaurants.

From 2001 through 2008, Sinprasong sponsored Thai nationals’ admission to the United States as E-2 specialty workers for his restaurants.

The indictment alleges that Sinprasong typically paid the E-2 workers "under-the-table" while deducting portions of a $3,000 "visa preparation fee" and other fees from their payment check. Once these fees had been fully paid through such deductions, the defendant helped the Thai employees obtain Social Security numbers and then started to report a portion of their wages and placed them on the official payroll of the restaurants.

The indictment says that the defendant devised a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Thai employees. As part of the scheme, Sinprasong allegedly used a duel payroll system whereby he concealed from his payroll records the substantial overtime hours he directed the Thai employees to work, which was typically between 26 and 32 hours of overtime each week. As a result, Sinprasongallegedly failed to report all of the wages paid to the Thai employees and failed to pay the Thai employees the overtime wages required by federal law. The defendant filed employer’s quarterly federal tax returns with the IRS as required, but the returns were materially false in that they failed to report the total wages paid to the Thai employees. By failing to report all of the wages paid to the Thai employees, the defendant evaded paying the employer’s portion of the Social Security and Medicare taxes due and owing on the unreported wages.

The indictment also alleges that Sinprasong filed false immigration applications and harbored illegal aliens.

If convicted, he faces not more than 20 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine for each count of wire fraud. He faces not more than 5 years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine for each count of failure to pay employee federal payroll taxes. Sinprasong faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine for each count of false swearing in an immigration matter. Lastly, the defendant faces not more than 10 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $250,000 for each count of harboring illegal aliens. Thew indictment also seeks forfeiture of property.

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