The second of five who were indicted for allegedly harboring illegal workers in the CNMI pleaded guilty in federal court last Friday.
Wencai Guo, of Beilida Overseas (CNMI) Ltd., pleaded guilty to count 2 of the indictment charging him with harboring illegal aliens. He will be sentenced on Feb. 16, 2018, at 9am.
The workers entered the CNMI as tourists but later worked on the casino and resort project of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC in Garapan.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona allow Guo to self-surrender to the U.S. Marshal Service today, Monday, at 10am, prior to his sentencing.
Guo, who is represented by defense counsel Robert T. Torres, will get credit for time served.
Guo supervised over 100 workers between Feb. 7, 2017 and March 22, 2017, at the Imperial Pacific Resort.
Assistant U.S. attorney James Benedetto, who prosecuted the case, said that at least 24 aliens overstayed their parole status.
The aliens, who were admitted to the CNMI as tourists, were not authorized to work.
Benedetto said Guo knew that at least 24 under his supervision were overstaying.
In a search by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the offices of Beilida, the FBI discovered spreadsheets in Chinese titled “Beilida Complete Personnel Accommodation Statistics Chart” which listed over 150 workers as hei gong, a term to mean “undocumented worker.”
Benedetto said Guo knew that there were inspectors such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration that would visit the construction site from time to time.
He said Guo would tell his subordinate team leaders or lieutenants that they should not come to work for a couple of days to avoid detection by authorities at the site.
By doing so, team leaders, including Guo, would get bonus payments, Benedetto said.
When asked by Manglona if Benedetto’s statements were true, Guo, through an interpreter replied, “I agree.”
Guo also admitted that he received bonus payments.
In response to Manglona’s questions, Guo admitted that he indeed supervised hei gongs or undocumented workers and that he told them not to go to the construction site to avoid being detected by authorities.
Guo and co-defendant Xiufang Qi, both of Beilida Overseas, were stopped from leaving the CNMI at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport last April 5. They were bound for China.
The jury trial in this case is set for Oct. 31, 2017.
MCC is a construction contractor for Imperial Pacific’s multi-million-dollar casino and resort project. Beilida Overseas is one of the subcontractors.
Qi was allegedly responsible for assigning Beilida’s workers at the construction site to four subordinate team leaders.
More than half of the 500 workers for Beilida came in as tourists. Approximately 260 of those workers were under Qi’s supervision. Four team leaders operated under Guo’s supervision.
Guo’s group consisted of 180 workers, while Qi’s group consisted of 280 workers.
The other defendants are MCC International project manager Yuqing Zhao, Beilida Overseas president and director Hui Lu, and Beilida’s Hongwei Ma.
A separate indictment charged Zhao with harboring illegal aliens.
Of the five, only Lu has yet to be arrested.
The indictment alleged that on March 8 through 22, 2017, Ma, Lu, and Guo harbored an illegal alien, Yuanhou Hu, by shielding him from detection and which resulted in Hu’s death.
Hu, a Chinese national, died after falling from a scaffold at the casino/resort construction site last March 22.
On Feb. 7 through March 22, 2017, Ma, Lu, Guo, and Qi allegedly harbored six illegal aliens.
A separate indictment alleges that beginning on Aug. 1, 2016 and continuing until March 31, 2017, Zhao harbored 15 illegal aliens.
Last Monday, Zhao pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful employment of aliens and was slapped with a six-month prison term as part of a plea deal.