Twin Cities Contractor Accused of Labor Trafficking
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A Twin Cities contractor is accused of bringing undocumented workers to Minnesota and threatening to report them to immigration officials if they complained about being underpaid and about working in dangerous conditions.
Ricardo Batres is charged in Hennepin County with labor trafficking, theft by swindle and insurance fraud. Batres operates American Contractors, based in Crystal.
The complaint says Batres leveraged his information about the employees' immigration status to force them to work long hours for low pay and without adequate safety protections. Prosecutors say when workers were injured, Batres told them they would lose their jobs and be deported if they sought medical attention.
The complaint says the number of workers involved peaked at 12 in the summer of 2017.
Batres did not immediately return a call seeking comment.