CHICAGO — Two siblings who operated a suburban Chicago manufacturing company have pleaded guilty in federal court to knowingly hiring undocumented workers.
KENNETH KUZELKA, 64, of Chicago, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit alien harboring for purposes of financial advantage, and his sister, KARI KUZELKA, 59, of Elgin, Ill., pleaded guilty to engaging in a pattern and practice of hiring unauthorized aliens.
The Kuzelkas admitted in plea agreements that in 2017 they schemed with the executive vice president of a Chicago staffing company to knowingly re-hire approximately 20 undocumented workers at KSO MetalFab Inc., a sheet metal fabrication company in Streamwood, Ill. The undocumented workers were previously employed by the company but had been terminated after agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) served the company with notice of suspected violations regarding the workers’ employment-verification documents. The staffing agency facilitated the undocumented workers’ return to the company.
The conspiracy charge against Kenneth Kuzelka is punishable by up to ten years in federal prison, while Kari Kuzelka faces up to six months. U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis set sentencings for Aug. 2, 2022.
The Kuzelkas’ plea agreements were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Angie Salazar, Special Agent-in-Charge of the HSI Chicago office. The U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Social Security Administration provided valuable assistance. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley A. Chung.
The staffing agency executive vice president – SERGIO BADANI of St. Charles, Ill. – previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $15,000. A fourth defendant – KEITH KUZELKA of Elgin – also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year of probation.