Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I think I'll head north...

…and start a business.

Ah, the first thought that someone wants to join the American Dream. The best and brightest leaving the Third World behind and starting afresh in the United States.

Case Study #1
Flavio Perez came here 15 years ago. He obtained a green card, rolled up his sleeves, and went to work hanging drywall. He started a business: Chateau Drywall. His goal was to retire by the time he was 35.

Great! He’s creating jobs and contributing to the economy.

Ooops! Flavio wasn’t so good with accounting. In 1996 he shorted the IRS $3,000 by understating his profit. By 2001 the shortage was $160,000. The total amount of taxes due by the time he stopped came to $392,070!

He’s 34 now. He’ll be spending his 35th birthday in prison, serving out his three year sentence. Then Immigration will VOID his green card and send him back to Mexico.

You don’t suppose he ever used illegal aliens as laborers, do you?

Case Study #2
Nuevo Foto Munoz. That’s the name of a little shop that specializes in passport photos, run by Mexican immigrant Elias Munoz, age 63. In 1992 Elias set up his studio in Little Village, a Latino neighborhood in Chicago.
It was a nice fit. Elias never learned English. He never sought citizenship. He just wanted to take pictures.

He made about $300 a day (cash) as part of a fake ID ring that was broken up in 2007. People knew that if they needed a fake green card or a drivers license they could hang out at the Little Village Discount Mall on 26th Street. Someone would find you, negotiate the deal, and send you to Elias for a photo. The indictment said that Munoz “provided members of the organization order forms, which he kept in a box on a desk in the entryway of [the shop].”

Elias entered a guilty plea in court yesterday. He confessed that he knew they were making fake documents with his photos. He could do five years and owe $250,000 in fines, but it’ll probably be much less than that.

His business partners (21 of them in all) are quite unsavory. Here’s a link to the family who ran the show:

Now, the day of the arrest caused quite a stir in Chicago. Some people accused the feds of intimidating Latinos just a week before the May Day demonstrations. Others felt the feds were heavy-handed, showing up in riot gear and forcing innocent bystanders to the ground.
One Chicago Alderman remarked, “It was way overkill. They had machine guns, shotguns, bullet-proof vests. It was a huge, huge endeavor. They struck fear into the heart of the Little Village community.”

That Alderman was 22nd Ward’s Ricardo Munoz, son of Elias Munoz. Ricardo had no comment after his father’s guilty plea yesterday.

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