A man has admitted to his role in a scheme in which he engaged in fraudulent activity designed to take advantage of undocumented workers for personal profit. After nearly 10 years of illegal activity, an employee reported the scheme to federal authorities and was brutally murdered just two days later. Federal authorities announced the man pled guilty to numerous charges and will face a 50-year sentence.
U.S. Attorney David H. Estes said, “Pablo Rangel-Rubio was responsible for employing at least 100 illegal aliens to work for a tree service, skimming from their paychecks to further fatten his wallet, and then helping arrange the murder of a man who exposed the scheme […] The substantial prison sentence from this plea will hold him accountable for those crimes.”
Department of Justice Announces Plea Deal in Illegal Immigrant Labor Scheme
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia recently announced Rangel-Rubio, a Mexican citizen illegally present in the United States, pled guilty to charges of Conspiracy to Conceal, Harbor and Shield Illegal Aliens and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering; three counts of Money Laundering; and one count of Aiding and Abetting in the Retaliation Against a Witness. The guilty plea subjects him to a negotiated sentence of 600 months (50 years) in prison and total forfeiture of his 26.62-acre residential compound located in Rincon, Georgia.
From roughly 2007 to 2017, Rangel-Rubio engaged in an illegal scheme to defraud workers at a Georgia tree service company, netting over $3.5 million in illegal proceeds between himself and his co-conspirators. Most of the employees hired by the company were undocumented, and he would give them fictitious names and fake social security numbers. When it was time to pay the workers, he would personally cash the checks on their behalf and pay them in cash – but not before skimming money from their wages for his personal gain. Following a report to the EEOC, the scheme was uncovered, and all involved were brought to justice, but not before lives were lost.
Whistleblower Brutally Murdered Days After Exposing Illegal Scheme
In April of 2017, a naturalized citizen employee of the company reported the scheme to his supervisor, but the company did nothing about it. In fact, Rangel-Rubio allegedly intercepted the complaint before it could be acted on. On August 17, 2017, the employee reported the scheme to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), and two days later, he was brutally murdered near his Garden City, Georgia, home. According to court documents, the defendant paid a co-conspirator at least $26,000 for his role in the murder-for-hire plot.
The tragic sequence of events sheds light on the importance of federal protections for vulnerable populations – especially immigrants.