Omaha, NE.—Some $7 million is at the financial heart of a massive conspiracy, involving the exploitation of 133 immigrants, mostly here illegally, according to details spelled out in a 14-page federal indictment that criss-crosses Nebraska, Minnesota and Las Vegas.
The conspiracy was ripped apart in a series of raids by federal ICE agents in northeastern Nebraska earlier this week, raids first reported exclusively by News Channel Nebraska.
The government says 13 persons were arrested , while four others were initially on the run.
The 17 are accused of money laundering and bank fraud to hide a nearly four-year-long operation that used threats of deportation to keep the illegal immigrants in-line and working for low wages.
According to the indictment, three ring-leaders— two foreign-born Hispanics and one Hispanic born in the United States—used fake names and social security numbers to hide the workers’ identities as the trio acquired over $5.6 million in illegal profits.
The indictment also says money was withheld from the illegal workers’ paychecks. The workers were told it was for federal taxes.