Saturday, March 28, 2009

Board And Care Owners Plead Guilty To Alien Smuggling And Forcing Some To Work At Their Long Beach Board And Care Homes

On March 23 ,2009, Evelyn Pelayo, the owner of two elder care homes in Long Beach, California, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess to bringing undocumented aliens into the United States and forcing two of them to work at her businesses. Pelayo owned two residences in Long Beach where she operated elderly care and boarding facilities called Vernon Way Care Home and Walton Care Home. This case is pending in the Central District of California.

The two elder care homes were shut down in April 2008, following the execution of the federal search warrants. At the time, 10 elderly patients were rescued and moved to other facilities.
In a plea agreement filed in federal court, Pelayo admitted that she paid a co-defendant $6,000 to smuggle two undocumented aliens into the United States from the Philippines and then forced them to work at her elder care homes after confiscating their passports and threatening to turn them over to authorities if they attempted to escape.

Pelayo’s husband, Darwin Padolina, pleaded guilty to harboring a third undocumented alien for private financial gain. Padolina admitted that he concealed the undocumented alien for 10 years while the person worked as a domestic servant. Sentencing is set for both on June 22, 2009.

For press release:

Attorney Commentary: Although this is an extreme case of human trafficking, health care providers need to comply with federal immigration laws when hiring employees. In the health care industry -- especially in cities like Los Angeles -- there is a significant risk of hiring persons who are not authorized to work in the United States. Federal immigration law makes it unlawful for an employer to hire or continue to employ a person who the employer knows is not authorized to work in the United States.

In addition to actual knowledge, an employer can be deemed to have constructive knowledge that the person is not authorized to work. The rule states that an employer will have constructive knowledge that an employee is not authorized to work if the employer receives a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration. The rule also sets forth steps the employer should take when it receives a no-match letter, and it provides that if the employer follows these steps, it will not be liable for knowingly employing an unauthorized alien. This should be part of every provider's compliance and risk management plan.

Any questions or comments should be directed to: Tracy Green is a principal at Green and Associates in Los Angeles, California. They focus their practice on the representation of licensed professionals and businesses in civil, business, administrative and criminal proceedings, with a specialty in health care providers.


DISCLAIMER: Green & Associates' articles and blog postings are prepared as a service to the public and are not intended to grant rights or impose obligations. Nothing in this website should be construed as legal advice. Green & Associates' articles and blog postings may contain references or links to statutes, regulations, or other policy materials. The information provided is only intended to be a general summary. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. We encourage readers to review the specific statutes, regulations, and other interpretive materials for a full and accurate statement of their contents and contact their attorney for legal advice. The primary purpose of this website is not the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service and this website is not an advertisement or solicitation. Anyone viewing this web site in a state where the web site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state, should disregard this web site.

The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to create, and does not create, a lawyer-client relationship with Green & Associates, Attorneys at Law. Sending an e-mail to Tracy Green does not contractually obligate them to represent you as your lawyer, or create any type of client relationship. No attorney-client relationship will be formed absent a written engagement or retainer letter agreement signed by both Green & Associates and client and which specifies the scope of the engagement.

Please note that e-mail transmission is not secure unless it is encrypted. E-mail messages sent to Ms. Green should not include confidential or sensitive information.