DOJ on Georgia Immigration Worker Fraud, Murder of Whistleblowers

Wednesday April 27, 2022

A man has admitted his role in a scheme where he was involved in fraudulent activities aimed at exploiting undocumented workers for personal gain. After nearly 10 years of illegal activity, an employee reported the scheme to federal authorities and was brutally murdered just two days later. Federal authorities said the man has pleaded guilty to numerous charges and faces a 50-year prison sentence.

U.S. Attorney David H. Estes said, “Pablo Rangel-Rubio was responsible for hiring at least 100 illegal aliens to work for an arborist, skimming their paychecks to further fatten his wallet, and then helping to arrange the murder of a man who uncovered the scheme […] The substantial prison sentence from this plea will hold him accountable for these crimes.”

Ministry of Justice Announces plea deal on illegal immigrant labor scheme

The US Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia recently announced that Rangel-Rubio, a Mexican citizen illegally in the United States, was charged with conspiracy to conceal, import and shield illegal aliens and conspiracy to commit money laundering is known guilty. three counts of money laundering; and a charge of aiding and abetting retaliation against a witness. The guilty plea subjects him to a negotiated sentence of 600 months (50 years) and full forfeiture of his 65-acre home in Rincon, Georgia.

From around 2007 to 2017, Rangel-Rubio engaged in an illegal scheme to defraud workers at a Georgia tree care company, generating over $3.5 million in illicit proceeds between himself and his co-conspirators. Most of the people the company hired were undocumented, and he gave them fictitious names and fake social security numbers. When it came time to pay the workers, he personally cashed the checks on their behalf and paid them in cash—but not before siphoning money from their wages for his personal gain. After a report to the EEOC, the plan was uncovered and all involved were brought to justice, but not before lives were lost.

Whistleblower brutally murdered days after he exposed illegal activities

In April 2017, a naturalized citizen of the company reported the program to his manager, but the company did nothing. In fact, Rangel-Rubio reportedly intercepted the complaint before it could be processed. On August 17, 2017, the employee reported the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) program and two days later he was brutally murdered near his home in Garden City, Georgia. According to court documents, the defendant paid a co-conspirator at least $26,000 for his role in the hit-and-run.

The tragic sequence of events sheds light on the importance of federal protection for vulnerable populations – particularly immigrants.

©2022 Norris McLaughlin PA, All Rights ReservedNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 117