Elder care employment agency indicted for hiring illegal aliens

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
SANTA ANA—A federal grand jury indicted a Filipino man and his former wife on allegations that they knowingly hired illegal aliens, primarily from the Philippines, to fill the jobs. An office manager for the couple was also indicted.

Filipino natives Wilfredo Ngo, 51, and his ex-wife, Teresa Ngo, 49, owners of A-Plus Senior Planning Services, Inc., were named in a four-count indictment handed down in August charging them with inducing aliens to reside in the United States; knowingly employing illegal aliens; knowingly harboring illegal aliens; and counseling persons to engage in marriage fraud. Gicela Sarabia, 43, office manager for A-Plus Senior Planning Services, was also charged with inducing aliens to reside in the US and with knowingly hiring illegal aliens. 

A-Plus Senior Planning Services is an employment agency firm that provides caregivers to at least 10 major elder care facilities in Orange County as well as workers for individual in-home care, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. 

US Magistrate Judge Marc L. Goldman arraigned the Ngo’s and Sarabia on August 25.

If convicted of all the charges, the Ngos face a maximum sentence of more than 15 years in prison. 

“The allegations in this case are disturbing when you consider that the illegal alien workers hired by these defendants were entrusted with caring for the infirm and elderly,” said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in Los Angeles. “People who enter the United States on visitor visas do not undergo the same degree of scrutiny as individuals who are coming into the country as legal foreign workers or immigrants.”

ICE began to investigate A-Plus Planning Services last December 2007 after it received tips that at least 40 of the agency’s workers were in the US illegally.

Most of them arrived as visitors and overstayed their visas, said ICE officials.

According to court documents, the Ngos counseled their illegal workers to enter into fraudulent marriages with US citizens so they could remain in the country legally.  The defendants allegedly told their employees to seek out potential spouses at Leisure World and on eHarmony.com, according to ICE officials.

The three defendants are currently free on bond.  (www.asianjournal.com)

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