Ohio Woman Guilty in Foreign Worker Fraud Case on Foley Vegetable Farm
MINNEAPOLIS -- An Ohio woman has been found guilty of conspiring to exploit foreign workers at a Foley, Minnesota vegetable farm.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says 68-year-old Sandra Bart and co-defendant Wilian Cabrera of the Dominican Republic forced foreign workers on work visas to pay illegal fees and kickbacks.
A jury convicted Bart of conspiring to commit fraud. Cabrera pleaded guilty on July 14th to conspiracy to commit fraud in foreign labor contracting.
According the U.S. Attorney, Bart and Cabrera operated an unregistered business called "Labor Listo" which they used to recruit employers like John Svihel of Svihel Vegetable Farm in Foley to hire workers. Svihel pleaded guilty on June 16th to conspiracy to commit fraud in foreign labor contracting.
Cabrera and Bart forced the workers to pay a one-time recruitment fee of between $420 and $2,385, plus an annual fee of $374. The workers were told if they didn't pay the fee, they wouldn't be allowed to come back the following season.
Svihel was accused of keeping a percentage of workers' wages.