But wait -- there's more

Bust of rich illegal alien suggests only tip of a larger criminal iceberg

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It’s one of the most blatant violations of the U.S. border you’ve ever seen – because it was so open and so brazen and so elegantly extravagant.

The federal takedown of Columbia County contractor Hugo Diaz – an illegal alien who, with his illegal wife with their illegal $1.7 million golf-course mansion harbored other illegals to work in his business – also is one of the largest, if not the largest, asset seizures from an illegal in the nation. Ever.

Part of you can’t blame the Diazes for setting up shop in a country doltish enough to allow such illegality under its nose. But the truth is, Diaz undercut local contractors, forcing some out and apparently enticing others to look the other way to play ball with him just to stay in the game. Until the economy went south.

That means that, even after Diaz and his wife Blanca pled guilty in federal court this week to harboring an illegal immigrant, there are probably more than one or two potential co-conspirators walking around free today, some of them native-born Americans.

How did he get business licenses? Bank accounts? Credit at the best suppliers? Nice cars? A deed to a mansion?

One supposes that’s what happens when an entire nation’s political structure lacks the minimal amount of backbone to enforce its immigration laws.

Diaz is said to be cooperating with authorities. We can only hope that others – besides the illegals caught in Diaz’s web – are eventually called to account.

While Diaz was the kingpin, all the kingpin’s men haven’t been held responsible.

And though we enforce our immigration laws only sporadically in this country, it’s only fair to enforce them fully when we do.

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specsta
8991
Points
specsta 02/18/12 - 02:31 am
0
0
"Illegals"? I wonder if the

"Illegals"? I wonder if the Chronicle editorial staff uses the racial slur "illegals" when they refer to undocumented immigrants that are of European descent?

Probably not.

This is the problem, the lack of sensitivity to other cultures and the ignorance that accompanies it.

Riverman1
124078
Points
Riverman1 02/18/12 - 06:35 am
1
0
The moral of this story is if

The moral of this story is if you use illegals in Columbia County, you better not be one of them. Only Columbia County bonafide American contractors of every kind can use illegal workers.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 02/18/12 - 08:22 am
0
0
specsta,how many

specsta,how many "undocumented workers" do you know? I imagine if there were 24+ million undocumented european immigrants,they would.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 02/18/12 - 08:26 am
1
0
specsta,please enlighten us

specsta,please enlighten us on which part of "illegal" is racial.

RunningMan
346
Points
RunningMan 02/18/12 - 10:08 am
1
0
There are many more in

There are many more in Columbia county. Don't continue to blame the federal government, police your own home first.

itsanotherday1
59705
Points
itsanotherday1 02/18/12 - 10:14 am
0
0
RunningMan, how do you

RunningMan, how do you propose to "police our own homes" when the federal government tries to block all legislation aimed at doing that very thing? When illegals are found, the county and state don't have a mechanism to deal with them unless they have committed another crime, or unless the feds get on board like they did with Diaz.

foster
71
Points
foster 02/18/12 - 10:47 am
1
0
The key word is illegal. I'm

The key word is illegal. I'm all for legal immigration. Do things the right way, don't come accross our borders illegally and I'm happy.

JRC2024
15608
Points
JRC2024 02/18/12 - 11:20 am
0
0
Maybe the 40% or so of legals

Maybe the 40% or so of legals that will not work now will work but I doubt it. They still want us hard working taxpayers to take care of their sorry tails. I guess that is wealth redistribution or economic fairness. Doesn't seem like that to me. Stop the checks, make these people do the landscaping, roofing, carpentry, ditch digging, road work, tree work, sheet rock, painting and all other things they used to do and there would not be a need for all the spanish crews that will work. But by now no business owner in the above trades really wants them because they have become too used to the system and cause more problems than they are worth.

burninater
11726
Points
burninater 02/18/12 - 12:34 pm
0
0
That means that, even after

That means that, even after Diaz and his wife Blanca pled guilty in federal court this week to harboring an illegal immigrant, there are probably more than one or two potential co-conspirators walking around free today, some of them native-born Americans.

How did he get business licenses? Bank accounts? Credit at the best suppliers? Nice cars? A deed to a mansion?
----------------

So are y'all starting to get it yet? Huh? We have porous borders because AMERICANS make PROFITS off of cheap labor.

So go ahead, freak out about those foreigners that don't speak English, and keep scratching your head wondering why as much as we deport them, they just keep showing up.

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 02/18/12 - 01:00 pm
1
0
Burninater is right- money

Burninater is right- money can be made off the cheap illegal labor, so it's going to happen. It's good everything in this county owned by Diaz will be seized- making an example out of him is a good start.

I have a hard time being upset at illegal workers- people who have little in life, risking a lot to come to America for a better oppertunity, I mean- what would you do for your family if you were in a tough situation?

It's the people business owners hiring and giving money to illegals that's the problem, the source, and the fix.

On the radio the other day, someone called in, or wrote- I can't recall- but the questioned was basically: How did this person operate in HOA areas, and other outlets in Augusta? How is it no one knew? Chances are everyone knew, but didn't care because it's all about the bottom dollar.

The questions raised in this editorial are important and I hope are answered. I hope people are not satisfied with the result here, call it and win and move on. Follow the money and paper trails.

harley_52
33666
Points
harley_52 02/18/12 - 01:34 pm
0
0
"...racial slur

"...racial slur "illegals"..."

That phrase, right there, tells you just about everything you need to know about liberals.

allhans
25543
Points
allhans 02/18/12 - 01:41 pm
1
0
Stop them at the border, then

Stop them at the border, then NO one will have the chance to make money off them. As long as they come illegally, they will be used and/or abused.
AS WITH any problem you have to go back to the roots....

harley_52
33666
Points
harley_52 02/18/12 - 02:10 pm
0
0
You are absolutely right,

You are absolutely right, allhans. The Federal government is the cause here, but the subtle and not so subtle attempts by the left is to shift the responsibility away from the government and toward the taxpayers. The message they seek to send is that 'citizens are at fault for not checking IDs of those with whom they do business.'

It's really not any different than blaming citizens for the loss of US manufacturing jobs to China and elsewhere. It's why they start all this "Buy America" baloney and seek to blame you for wanting high quality, low price products. The government conspires with labor unions to steal from consumers via exorbitant prices, then they blame consumers (aka taxpayers) for bargain hunting.

Beware of big government and get rid of corrupt, ineffective government officials.

The election is less than nine months away....

Willow Bailey
20619
Points
Willow Bailey 02/18/12 - 02:38 pm
0
0
harley-52, YOU hit the

harley-52, YOU hit the jackpot!!! It's not a citizen problem, it's a government responsibility!

The AC Staff asked how Hugo Diaz opened bank accounts and secured credit; it was with his Federal Tax I.D. number.

harley_52
33666
Points
harley_52 02/18/12 - 02:49 pm
0
0
Willow.....it's ludicrous,

Willow.....it's ludicrous, isn't it?

Somebody shows up with several thousand dollars, a local address, a driver's license, and a yellow page listing and the bank is supposed to check his birth certificate? I don't think so.

That same somebody answers the phone after a citizen gets their phone number out of the phone book, or off the internet, and asks for a home improvement estimate and the citizen is expected to check their citizenship papers? Get real.....

Every day we pay our taxes and in return we expect the government to perform the services for which we pay. Not only don't they perform them, they seek to blame US for not performing those services FOR THEM.

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.....

Willow Bailey
20619
Points
Willow Bailey 02/18/12 - 03:01 pm
0
1
And Hey, harley, Obama got

And Hey, harley, Obama got furious when some wanted to check his citizenship papers!! You can be president without proof, but you can't put on a roof or have a checking account.

You just got to love it!!

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 02/18/12 - 03:39 pm
1
0
In case anyone forgot- our

In case anyone forgot- our government is of the people, by the people, for the people. To speak of our government as if it has nothing to do with the citizens, and is separate is just weird...

While I disagree a lot written from ACES on national matters, I have to believe personnel working there are plugged into the community. So when they write, like they did back in Nov 10th 2011,

"There had to have been local businesses, contractors and builders who turned a blind eye and let it all happen. And participated in it.

We’ve been told by two different sources, for instance, that the million-dollar mansion Diaz had built on a golf course has no mortgage – that it was paid for with cash. We’re also told there were numerous other transactions in the tens of thousands of dollars made with cash or checks. Financial institutions and others are required to notify authorities about such things."

I believe them.

If Diaz and all his workers obtained federal tax ID numbers from government officials- an investigation should be done to figure how that was possible. If there is a system wide problem, or maybe they just knew a a person or two who could hook them up.

That alone is a problem. Another problem is mentioned in that article as well "The truth is, there were likely businesses and business people who were only too happy to wear blindfolds if it meant saving or making a buck."

It's not just the federal government that is the problem- although they are. Turning a blind eye for profit is also an issue.

However the federal government does do it right sometimes, mentioned in this article at the beginning "The federal takedown of Columbia County contractor Hugo Diaz ...". It wasn't a business that brought them down... it was our government at work.

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 02/18/12 - 03:53 pm
0
0
Illegal does not denote one

Illegal does not denote one particular race.

specsta
8991
Points
specsta 02/18/12 - 04:39 pm
0
0
There is a difference in the

There is a difference in the terminology of "illegal" and "illegals". One denotes an activity that is not legal, the other denotes human beings as a criminal element, simply because they lack proper authorization to reside in this country.

"Illegals", when used by conservatives and right-wingers, is a deliberate negative label pasted on undocumented immigrants for the sole purpose of instilling the connotation that these folks are somehow some sinister invader determined to destroy the American way of life.

"Illegals" is a word that could easily be switched with other racial slurs from the past, because it is used to define someone the conservative cabal has deemed as undesirable and not worthy of equal protections as human beings.

The fact that this word is tossed around so freely, as if one is justified to define someone as "illegal", is reprehensible to me. No one on this planet is an "illegal" - to define another human as so, is to say that their worth is defined via a government document.

Words have power. The more that undocumented immigrants or even unauthorized immigrants are referred to as "illegals", the more racist vitriol is spit out among the citizens to sway their thinking that these immigrants are some horrendous enemy of the state.

The right-wingers are always looking for someone to blame for their own inept policies and myopic world viewpoints - and now undocumented immigrants are the latest scapegoat.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 02/18/12 - 05:01 pm
0
0
kinda like the inept policies
Unpublished

kinda like the inept policies and wide-eyed naiveté of left wing liberals eh specsta? You left out the catch phrase....its Bush's fault.

I wonder if 1% would be considered a racial slur?

Willow Bailey
20619
Points
Willow Bailey 02/18/12 - 05:05 pm
0
1
TParty, you contradicted your

TParty, you contradicted your own self. In the first paragraph, the government is the people, the people, the people and in your last one they are special.

The bottom line is this, locally most contactors do not have an employee/employer relationship with their hires. And there is no law applying to general contractors requiring proof of a subcontractor's legal presence in the US; just as there is no law requiring a private citizen to do so.

As to blind eyes and profits, the only profits we have any control over are our own; other than our ability to choose who we do business with.

The places for blame, responsibility and accountability belong to Mr. Diaz and the federal, and local governments. After all, who left the gate open for Diaz to come through, who issued Diaz his federal tax number, what county sold Diaz his contractor's license, what county sold Diaz his building permits on projects where he supplied them, what county inspected Diaz's work? Surely those federal, state and local government officials didn't turn a "blind eye" did they? It will be more than interesting to see who ends up with the new Porsche and the Jones Creek property.

If it is a crime to do business with them, arrest the AC for selling them a newspaper subscription.

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 02/18/12 - 05:28 pm
1
0
Willow- There's no

Willow-

There's no contradiction. I was trying to illustrate that was the federal government that built a case and brought charges to Diaz and ended his reign. You seem to think that only the federal government and local government, along with Diaz is to blame- but it was the federal government that stopped him. Are there places where the government failed, probably. Still not sure how he got his tax ID number.

There is fault with local and federal government, and there is fault for businesses who turned a blind eye. You say there is no law for them to check on the status of the people they work with- however if you're doing multi-million dollar business with someone (which is different then selling a paper, you know that right?)- you should know if they are legit. It's either shortcuts that were taken which is dangerous, or they turned a blind eye and just as culpable.

dwb619
119236
Points
dwb619 02/18/12 - 05:58 pm
1
0
I was under the impression

I was under the impression that E_Verify was enacted to fight this problem. But the law is only as good as the contractors who use it.
Anyone ever thought about about how much tax is avoided by these undocumented workers? State, federal, and social security.
I would not be surprised to find that this contractor did not issue ONE W-2 form. 1099's are much more"business friendly"when your entire workforce is made up of ''illegals''.

Willow Bailey
20619
Points
Willow Bailey 02/18/12 - 05:52 pm
0
1
Tparty, because Hugo built

Tparty, because Hugo built an expensive home for cash certainly doesn't mean he engaged in any multi million dollar practices with individual businesses or citizens. There is no reason for any reasonable person to assume that all of his income may have been derived from the local home building industry. Business people do not pay in cash, they write checks from their corporate checking accounts and apply the job costs to their bottom lines against their own tax consequences.

With Hugo having the credentials, the tax numbers, the licenses, and the permits, I hardly see the blind eyes of the citizens.

As to banks and their required reporting practices, that's an easy paper trail for the feds.

But please do enlighten me and share specifically how and whose businesses turned a blind eye to what...

Willow Bailey
20619
Points
Willow Bailey 02/18/12 - 05:54 pm
0
1
dwb619, you might want to

dwb619, you might want to research your comment to find out who is required to use E_Verify and upon what conditions.

Willow Bailey
20619
Points
Willow Bailey 02/18/12 - 05:58 pm
0
1
TParty, if an activity is

TParty, if an activity is illegal, then it's illegal for everyone is the point regarding the subscription. The grocery store shouldn't be allowed to sell them food, if they are not allowed to work in the US.

Read your response later, have to get dressed for a birthday party.

dwb619
119236
Points
dwb619 02/18/12 - 06:00 pm
1
0
I know there are numberts of

I know there are numberts of employees requirement. However, this doesn't stop a contractor of any size from using the data base if they want.

Willow Bailey
20619
Points
Willow Bailey 02/18/12 - 06:06 pm
0
0
dwb619, first you need to

dwb619, first you need to understand the business. There are no known local general residential contractors who operate as employers.

harley_52
33666
Points
harley_52 02/18/12 - 06:09 pm
0
0
"The federal government" is,

"The federal government" is, of course, a pretty big organization. And, though it may surprise some, there are different pieces of that organization that aren't always synchronized in the their manner of operation or even their goals. It's not beyond the limits of the imagination to believe the agency(ies) responsible for controlling immigration might not be in total synchronization with all law enforcement agencies within the federal government.

"Not possible" you say? How about "Fast and Furious" one might counter.

The point is that the Federal government is responsible for U.S. Border Security, not some citizen in Augusta Georgia seeking to get a window replaced.

dwb619
119236
Points
dwb619 02/18/12 - 06:14 pm
1
0
I understand the business.

I understand the business. What i am getting at is the un-ethical contractors ( or builders) scamming the system. I still believe they are using the 1099 form to undercut competitors and avoid with holding on their un-documented work force.

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