Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams has announced the arrest and indictment of Pennsylvania residents Miguel Morales, 48, of Quarryville; Jose Morales, 39, of Quarryville; Oscar Carrillo-Perez, 35, of West Grove; and Santiago Garcia-Ramirez, 44, of Landenberg. Morales was indicted for conspiring to transport and transporting undocumented workers and making false statements. Morales and Urena were also charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, and failure to collect and pay employment taxes.
Quarryville Business Owner Indicted
Miguel Morales, who owns and operates Morales Contractor based in Pennsylvania, provided labor to many independently operated mushroom farms in Chester County. The labor force that Morales comprised of undocumented workers. Further, Morales provided some of these undocumented workers with housing in about 10 housing facilities that he owned, as well as transportation to and from the farms – charging the workers for both the transportation and the housing.
Miguel Morales, Carrillo-Perez, Garcia-Ramirez, and Jose Morales conspired to transport these undocumented workers who were illegally present in the United States. The indictment further stated that Morales hired workers regardless of their immigration status, did not file Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statements, and failed to collect and pay over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employment taxes for his business.
The second indictment alleged that Miguel Morales and Lawrence Urena conspired to obstruct the IRS from lawful assessment and collection of unemployment taxes. Urena operated Urena accounting, which runs the payroll for Morales’s business, and handled all the accounts. For the calendar year 2020, Morales paid wages of $3,644,142 to employees, mostly at the rate of $10 per hour. Morales had to pay IRS approximately $921,968 in employment taxes. However, from 2015 to 2018, Morales paid the IRS only a fraction of what he owned, which resulted in a tax loss of approximately $2 million.
Operating Undocumented Worker Conspiracy and Extensive Tax Fraud
This investigation was conducted by the IRS Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the Chester County Detective Division, and the case is being prosecuted by Attorney Karen Grisby
“According to the Indictment, Miguel Morales and the other defendants knew they were employing undocumented workers as part of a years-long scheme to avoid paying their fair share of taxes to the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “This case is about exploiting those less fortunate out of sheer greed. This type of fraud will not be tolerated in this District, and these defendants will now have to answer to these charges.”
All the defendants could face the following possible sentences if they are convicted:
- Miguel Morales could face a maximum possible sentence of 250 years in prison and an $8,750,000 fine
- Lawrence Urena could face a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine; Carrillo-Perez could face a maximum possible sentence of 65 years in prison and a $1,750,000 fine
- Garcia-Ramirez could face a maximum possible sentence of 85 years in prison and a $2,250,000 fine
- Jose Morales could face a maximum possible sentence of 15 years of imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, and a period of supervised release of 3 years