Indian couple pleads guilty to unlawful employment

Washington, Sep 11 (IANS) An Indian couple living in the US has pleaded guilty in a federal court to charges related to unlawful employment of undocumented workers, a media report said.

Satishkumar Patel and his wife Daxaben Patel, who operated the Route 56 Express gas station and convenience store in McPherson city, Kansas, entered their guilty pleas on Thursday before a US district court judge, Eyewitness News reported, citing US attorney Barry Grissom.

The couple admitted that they paid their workers in cash, and did not withhold federal income and social security taxes. They also admitted to operating a money remitting business without the required permission from the state authorities.

The Patels have agreed to forfeit more than $700,000 in cash, money from bank accounts, and gold seized by the authorities in the case.

“They face prosecution for their crimes and the loss of assets obtained in connection with those crimes. Contrary to what some may think, it is not legal to employ people not authorised to work in this country, nor is it legal to ignore our business and tax laws,” Grissom said in a statement.

According to prosecutors, the Patels themselves are living illegally in the US.

The couple came to the attention of authorities when the Kansas Department of Revenue’s alcohol beverage control division observed sale of tobacco products to minors at their convenience store.

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