A Long Island man is facing charges for allegedly smuggling Vietnamese nationals into the country to work on the cheap at nail salons he and a co-conspirator operated in New York.
Hicksville resident Manh Ngoc Nguyen and Bronx resident Dat Tat Ho were charged in federal court in Central Islip for allegedly conspiring to defraud the government and smuggling illegal aliens into the country.
Nguyen and Ho owned or managed several nail and hair salons on Long Island, Queens, and in the Bronx. It is alleged that between January 2017 and September this year, the two arranged for Vietnamese foreign nationals to enter the country through illegal border crossings at the U.S. border with Mexico, as well as at other ports of entry.
Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said that once they crossed the border, Nguyen and Ho transported the illegal aliens to New York to work in their salons at illegally low wages.
It is alleged that Nguyen and Ho also forced the foreign nationals to make false statements to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and submit fraudulent asylum applications to USCIS.
DuCharme noted that the foreign nationals also lived in homes that were owned by Nguyen and Ho.
“As alleged, Ho and Nguyen conspired to smuggle aliens into the United States, keep them under the defendants’ control and pay them illegally low wages to work in nail and hair salons,” DuCharme said. “As this case demonstrates, we take seriously our responsibility to maintain security at our borders and prosecute those who seek unlawful commercial advantage and financial profit through the exploitation of other human beings.”
Nguyen, 44, and Ho, 33, were charged with conspiracy to illegally bring aliens into the United States; conspiracy to defraud U.S. immigration courts and USCIS; illegally bringing an alien to the United States for financial gain and attempting to illegally bring aliens to the United States for financial gain.
“This case is an example of callous labor trafficking hiding in plain sight. In what seemed to be an endless scheme, this transnational criminal organization allegedly manipulated the asylum process and profited off the plight of their nail salon employees whom they victimized,” Homeland Security Investigation Special Agent-in-Charge Peter Fitzhugh. said
“HSI, through collaboration with its federal, state, and local partners, methodically unraveled the vast reach of this enterprise which led to the indictment of these criminals.”
Both men were arraigned this week and are being detained pending their trial. If convicted, they face a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 15 years.
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