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Courts and Crime


Northeast Ohio restaurant owners accused in undocumented workers case
Mexican restaurant owners indicted on charges they helped create fake documents for -- then underpaid -- workers
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
In The Region:

The owners and managers of a chain of Mexican restaurants in Stark and Summit counties have been charged with hiring some three dozen  undocumented workers and then cheating them. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on a case that could end with the forfeiture of more than $16 million the restaurants made.

LISTEN: Accusations involving Mariachi Locos and Mariachi Cocos restaurant chain

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The 23-count indictment says restaurant owners Miguel and Monica Castro, and four managers hired workers they knew were in the United States illegally to work at their Mariachi Locos and Cocos restaurants. They’re accused of helping the workers get fraudulent documents, leasing housing for them and paying them – under the table and under minimum wage.

Mike Tobin of the U.S. attorneys office says some were paid nothing other than tips, and the offer of housing and other help was not benevolent. 

“I think the real tragedy of this case is, as laid out in the indictment, that you have people who are taking advantage of  these workers’ immigrations status. They know these workers can’t go to the authorities and complain about being underpaid or overworked or not getting overtime … because they had a work force that they knew they could control.” 

Tobin says abuse began in 2002 and continued until the restaurants were searched last year. Some of the workers have been deported, others are in the process. 

When contacted at one of the restaurants, Monica Castro declined to comment.

Here's a Beacon Journal article following the 2012 raids:
http://www.ohio.com/news/local-news/courthouse-crowd-rallies-against-raid-of-mariachi-locos-restaurants-threatened-deportations-1.329193 

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