The owner of a Van Nuys manufacturing company is scheduled to plead guilty today to federal charges of hiring undocumented workers and attempting to cover up the fraud.
Yoel A. Wazana, 38, owner and production manager of Wazana Brothers International Inc. — also known as Micro Solutions Enterprises — will plead guilty to one felony count of false representation of a Social Security number, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The felony charge of false representation of a Social Security number carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge George H. Wu is expected to set a sentencing date for Wazana at Thursday’s hearing.
In addition, the printer supply manufacturing company itself has agreed to pay about $267,000 to settle criminal and civil charges, according to court papers.
Wazana admits in a plea agreement that he caused two employees to use the Social Security numbers of relatives in order to remain in the firm’s employ after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations launched a probe of the company’s compliance with federal hiring laws.
In another plea agreement filed last month, the firm admitted hiring about 55 unauthorized workers and continuing to employ them after the ICE inspection began.
Beyond the fines, the plea agreement calls for the company to be on probation for three years, during which time it is to implement measures meant to ensure it is complying with the nation’s hiring laws, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The plea agreements describe how, after learning of the ICE audit, Wazana conducted meetings with his company’s assembly line workers, instructing them to obtain valid work authorization documents and return with those papers, suggesting that he did not care if the documents were actually theirs.
In February 2008, federal authorities executed a search warrant at MSE’s Van Nuys plant, arresting eight current and former company workers on criminal charges and another 130 employees on administrative immigration violations, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.