Temp agency owners indicted

May 31, 2007|By Kelly Brewington | Kelly Brewington,Sun reporter

A federal grand jury indicted three owners of a Baltimore temporary employment agency yesterday on charges of conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants and launder money.

In March, federal agents arrested 69 employees of Jones Industrial Network, a company providing workers to sportswear maker Under Armour Inc. and other local businesses. Also, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents seized $630,000 from the company's bank accounts.

The company's owners -- Daniel Jones, 40, of Sparks, Robert Lanahan, 42, of Towson, and Michael Morgan, 41, of Timonium -- could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison on the harboring charge and 20 years on the money-laundering charge.

According to the indictment, the owners hired illegal immigrants to work in area businesses for a fee. Local businesses paid the Jones company, which used the money to pay the workers. The business failed to properly document the immigration status of job applicants, and the owners kept a computer record of applicants whose Social Security numbers could not be verified, according to the charges.

Jones is the second local business to be indicted since last year on federal charges of hiring illegal workers. The charges come amid increased scrutiny of employers as Congress battles over proposals to reform the nation's immigration policies.

Last March, the owners of a popular Japanese restaurant, Kawasaki, were accused of hiring illegal workers and pocketing customers' tips that the employees earned. The owners pleaded guilty to criminal charges of money laundering and harboring illegal immigrants, agreeing to pay $1 million. The principal owner was sentenced to five months in prison. A court date in the Jones case has not been scheduled.


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