Contractor Sentenced to Jail and Probation for Labor Trafficking, Premium Fraud
Friday, January 17, 2020 | 1007 | 0 | 13 min read
Ricardo Ernesto Batres was sentenced to serve at least four months in jail for labor trafficking, payroll fraud and workers' compensation fraud, according to an Associated Press report.
Batres, who operated Crystal-based American Contractors, where 12 employees finished wood framing and installed wallboard across Minnesota, was also ordered to serve five years on probation.
A criminal complaint says the workers were not authorized to be in the U.S. and when they complained about working conditions, Batres reported them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Some of them were deported.
In court, victims said Batres kept them from speaking up against death threats.
He was also accused of underreporting payroll to fraudulently reduce his workers' compensation premiums.
In November, Batres pleaded guilty to labor trafficking and insurance fraud. Activists say this case is the first of its kind in Hennepin County and one of very few labor trafficking cases ever prosecuted in Minnesota.