What started as a traffic stop in the North Hills of Pittsburgh ended Monday with the sentencing of Alexander Litt for his role in harboring illegal aliens and hiring them out to unsuspecting businesses.
The 47 year old from Russia was the last of 6 defendants to be sentenced. Litt faces 56 months in jail followed by three years on supervised release. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania David Hickton says Litt will face an immigration status hearing after his release.
Hickton says Litt and his co-conspirators would hire out the workers to restaurants and hotels for ten dollars an hour and then pay the workers six dollars an hour. On top of that, those who were here illegally would be housed in cramped quarters and forced to pay rent to the company. They were also forced to pay for transportation to and from work in company owned vans.
Hickton says during peak seasons the workers in Pittsburgh and Ohio would work for 20 hours a day but never see any overtime. “The significance of this case lies in the fact that recruitment and exploitation of cheap alien labor occurs daily around the country,” says Hickton
Hickton says the majority of the workers were “out-of-status” aliens. Most came here legally, however many of their visas had expired. Others were here under visas that did not allow them to work. At least 53 of the more than 100 workers involved in the case have been deported. Most were from former Soviet block countries.
As part of their collective sentences the defendants were forced to pay $2.5 million in forfeitures to the federal government.