Hiring of Illegal Immigrants Calls for Strict Punishment
Annapolis (September 4, 2009) - County Executive John R. Leopold today urged U.S. Parole and Probation officials to insist on jail time for Robert T. Bontempo Jr., the Annapolis businessman sentenced today for hiring and profiting from illegal immigrants.
“This case has the attention of many employers who might consider using illegal immigrants as cheap labor, and a message must be sent that you can go to jail for these crimes,” County Executive Leopold said. “It is very important to punish to the fullest extent of the law. Bontempo could have served 15 years in prison for these crimes, so he should at least be forced to spend his six month sentence in jail.”
Judge Williams D. Quarles, Jr. today sentenced Bontempo to three years probation, six months community confinement and a $100 fine for each charge. The appropriate community confinement is up to Parole and Probation officials, and could include time in a detention facility or a halfway house.
“According to court documents, Bontempo engaged in the hiring of illegals for several years and profited greatly from his business, Annapolis Painting Services. He knew the workers were illegal, paid them in cash and even leased living space for them,” County Executive Leopold said. “While I am pleased that he had to forfeit his assets, I still believe that profiting from illegal immigrants requires jail time.”
As part of a plea agreement, Bontempo forfeited $1 million in assets, including five bank accounts, 10 vehicles and seven properties.