CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A local business owner will soon learn his punishment.
A federal judge found him guilty of harboring undocumented immigrants. Edwin Gire of Gire Roofing and Grayson Enterprises were falsifying work contracts and committing visa fraud.
Witnesses told the judge there were also forged signatures of customers who never agreed to having the work done. In 2014, government agents raided Gire Roofing. It was soon revealed it’s because the owner was accused of visa fraud and housing undocumented workers.
Owner Edwin Gire has been found guilty of the charges and is awaiting sentencing. Attorney Emma Dorantes, of Champaign, says the fraud was coming in the form of forged documents.
“He submitted several applications providing fraudulent, fake he created and fabricated work contracts, forged signatures of potential developers or employers.”
The courts have shown Gire had three illegal workers on staff. They say, between 2011 – 2014 he submitted petitions he needed more workers, but the jobs were fake.
“Verify identities, verify documentation status for the people he was petitioning for but the idea of HB visa is you’re bringing in foreign nationals you know these are people who wouldn’t have a residency or any means of getting into the United States.”
She says each year hundreds of workers come to the US on work visas, but there’s a process which must be followed.
“This country depends on employment and depends on legal employment, but more importantly, if there’s going to be people coming in from other countries, there’s a process of vetting.”
Gire faces up to 10 years in prison and a quarter million dollar fine. He was found guilty on four of the counts of visa fraud; Grayson Enterprises for the other two. Sentencing is in June.
The work visa program does allow employers to bring foreign nationals into the US. It’s to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. These are typically used for those dealing with seasonal needs that can’t be filled here.