Company Head Gets 15 Months in Prison, $12 Million for Employing Illegal Immigrants

The head of a temporary labor business that used hundreds of illegal immigrants was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $12 million.

Maximino Garcia, 42, of San Antonio, Texas, pleaded guilty last October to conspiracy to induce, aid and abet illegal aliens to reside or remain in the United States for commercial or private gain. U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel sentenced him Thursday.

Federal prosecutors said the $12 million represents money Garcia made by employing illegal immigrants for his temporary labor companies. Julie Myers, assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said it was the largest forfeiture yet in an illegal immigrant case.

Garcia headed Garcia Labor Company Inc. of Morristown, Tenn., and an Ohio-based labor company.

Prosecutors said his companies contracted with ABX Air Inc. to sort freight at its Wilmington Air Park in Ohio from 1999 until January 2005, when an audit showed the workers were using invalid Social Security numbers.

Garcia's attorneys contended that the $12 million forfeiture was excessive. He also was fined $25,000.