After pleading guilty to insurance fraud, employing immigrants who are in the country illegally, and filing false tax documents, the owner of a southwest Ohio roofing company now faces between 2 and 5 years in prison.
As if these charges weren’t serious enough, documents filed in a Dayton, Ohio court suggest Williams Brothers Roofing and Siding actively participated in human trafficking. According to investigators, Gregory Oldiges, the 55-year-old proprietor of Williams Brothers, paid liaisons to bring in migrant workers from Texas illegally. Oldiges would then pay those workers a fraction of the rate extended to its regular roofing crews.
Greg Lockhart, Oldiges’ attorney, describes the situation as “unfortunate" but indicative of a larger trend. Lockhart contends that "many roofing companies use immigrants who are in the country illegally as laborers."
While U.S. Attorney Vipal Patel expressed the need to ensure that other contractors act in accordance with all applicable employment laws, he told the Dayton Daily News that this particular case extends well beyond hiring illegal workers.
"This is somewhat unique, because of multiple [concurrent] illegal activities," he explains. "It has raised the specter, and [the] question of what other companies in the construction business are doing in our community.”
What Lockhart failed to point out is the FBI investigation, arrest, and ensuing court proceedings resulted from many years of shady dealings at Williams Brothers. Between 2009 and 2012, the roofing company invoiced customers about $11.75 million for work performed by immigrants who were in the country illegally, according to court documents. In total, Williams Brothers paid the workers $1.7 million, a fraction of the billed amount. Additionally, Oldiges recouped the money he paid to smuggle some of the workers by withholding money to the crews.
After years of taking advantage of insurers, consumers and those he stripped of a voice, Oldiges finally did something mildly respectable: pleaded guilty to federal charges on Tuesday, Jan. 7. The court released Oldiges with the stipulation that he would surrender his passport and then return to court for sentencing on April 8, 2014.
Source: Dayton Daily News