"A federal jury found a Brazilian woman residing in Orlando guilty of
alien smuggling and conspiracy to commit alien smuggling and worker visa
fraud on Monday, following an investigation that began with U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security
Investigations (HSI). Rafaela Dutra Toro, 30, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in
federal prison. She was indicted on Jan. 26. Her sentencing hearing has
not yet been scheduled. "The individuals involved in this case orchestrated a very large
and very complex visa fraud ring. They took jobs away from U.S. citizens
and others who are legally allowed to work in this country by knowingly
employing people who were not authorized to work in the United States,"
said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI in Tampa. "Through
cases like this one, HSI is helping to protect our economy and preserve
job opportunities from being lost due to fraud." Toro is a citizen of Brazil and will be subject to removal from the United States after serving her sentence. According to evidence presented at trial, Toro worked for VR
Services, a large temporary labor staffing company based in Orlando,
which supplied temporary labor to numerous businesses in the hotel and
hospitality industries throughout Florida and the United States. The
scheme allowed Toro and her co-conspirators to set up a permanent
foreign labor pool that hired illegal alien workers across the United
States in jobs that would normally have been filled by United States
citizens. As part of the conspiracy, Toro and her co-conspirators
submitted false documentation to the government and manipulated the H-2B
foreign worker visa process. They also submitted fake hotel contract
agreements to conceal their activities and falsely reported that U.S.
workers had been hired when they had not. To further the conspiracy, they falsely claimed that no payments
had been collected from the alien workers, when in fact the workers had
actually paid between $350 to $750 each, to be placed on the fraudulent
H-2B visa petitions. Through their complex visa fraud and alien
smuggling activities, Toro and her co-conspirators supplied foreign
workers to more than 100 hotels and allowed more than 1,000 foreign
workers to enter and remain in the United States illegally using
fraudulently obtained H-2B employment-based visas." - ICE, Nov. 9, 2011.