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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Traveling Carnival Owner Charged With Multiple Crimes Tied to Alleged Labor Exploitation

Traveling Carnival Owner Charged With Multiple Crimes Tied to Alleged Labor Exploitation Scheme

Release Date: May 9, 2024

HOUSTON — The owner of a traveling carnival business was charged May 7 with multiple crimes tied to an alleged scheme to exploit foreign workers following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston, the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

Angel Reyes Isidro aka Lucas Isidro Reyes, a 41-year-old Mexican national residing in the United States, was charged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with visa fraud, fraud in foreign labor contracting, making false statements and mail fraud.

“Schemes that use threats, coercion and abuse of legal processes to exploit foreign workers lead to unsafe working conditions, perpetuate unfair competition for other employers who play by the rules, and weaken global trade and supply chains,” said HSI Houston Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson. “HSI works diligently alongside our federal partners to expose and bring to justice employers and companies that fraudulently circumvent our nation’s immigration laws and use abusive labor practices to exploit their workforce.”

The indictment alleges Reyes, who operated and managed J&G Concessions LLC in Houston, submitted falsified temporary employment applications to the United States in 2019 to obtain H-2B visas for foreign seasonal workers. Upon the workers’ arrival, Reyes allegedly charged them illegal fees, paid them substandard wages, and made threats of deportation and loss of future employment opportunities to cause them to work despite horrible conditions. From 2022 to the time of his arrest on April 28, 2024, Reyes allegedly continued to operate his carnival business with unauthorized workers.

During the hearing, the court heard that Reyes poses a serious flight risk and is a danger to the community. The court further heard that Reyes possesses a firearm that he allegedly used to threaten workers, that he allegedly sexually harassed women temporary workers and assaulted one of them, and also threatened and retaliated against the victimized workers.

Reyes faces up to 20 years in federal prison for mail fraud and a maximum of 10 years if convicted of visa fraud. He could also be ordered to pay $250,000 in fines for each conviction. The remaining counts carry a five-year maximum term of imprisonment.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine Lu and Khoa Tran are prosecuting the case.

For more news and information on HSI’s efforts to aggressively investigate labor exploitation and document and benefit fraud in Southeast Texas follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSIHouston.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Last Updated: 05/09/2024
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