Three entrepreneurs who made $2.3M by bringing 178 illegal workers to Quebec to work cleaning hotels have received a one-year prison sentence at purge in the community.
In June 2019, the Border Services Agency arrested eight workers without work permits at a hotel in Quebec City as part of the Calmar project. The investigation finally led to the arrest of three Colombians of origin who had illegally employed 178 citizens, mostly from Mexico, to do housekeeping in 32 hotels in Quebec City, Chicoutimi, Montmagny and Baie-Saint -Paul.
Didier Alirio Rubiano Montoya, 48, and brothers Jorge Alexander and Josimar Pena Mendoza, 46 and 35, were subsequently arrested under the Immigration Act. They had devised “a well-orchestrated scheme” in order to bring in their workers who pretended to come to visit the city of Quebec.
However, as soon as they arrived, they were taken care of by the three acolytes and quickly began their households. “The defendants assumed the entire employment relationship. Hired, assigned work, set their schedule, provided transportation and paid them,” said Judge Steve Magnan.
Below minimum wage
Paid in cash to keep the defendants' businesses as minimally traceable as possible, the workers were paid below minimum wage. “The actions of the defendants placed the foreigners in a situation of vulnerability and illegality, certainly forcing them to live clandestinely”, explained the judge.
While they exploited the 178 workers , the three Colombians earned $2.3M between June 2018 and July 2019. The three men, all well integrated into Quebec society, work in the automotive sector, in bakery or pastry. They received a one-year prison sentence to be served at home except for work.
They will have to do 180 hours of community service during their house arrest. It was not indicated what fate was reserved for the 178 foreigners who came to find work here.
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