Overview: Two brothers decided to exact revenge against an employee who told federal officials about their scheme to hire illegal immigrants.
The scenario: Shortly after he started working for Wolf Tree, a company that provides tree-trimming services in the Savannah, GA, area, Eliud Montoya noticed several potentially illegal activities.
For instance, Montoya observed that Pablo Rangel-Rubio and Juan Rangel-Rubio, the two brothers who operated the business, were in the U.S. illegally. In addition, the two Mexican brothers engaged in several shady business practices.
The brothers arranged for the illegal immigrants who worked for them to assume the identities and to obtain the Social Security numbers of people legally in the U.S.
Then the Rangel-Rubio brothers issued paychecks to the illegal workers. However, the brothers deposited the paychecks themselves and paid the staffers in cash, often underpaying them.
Montoya told the brothers that he was uncomfortable with the hiring and payment schemes, but he was ignored. So Montoya contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
After the Rangel-Rubio brothers learned that Montoya had reached out to the government, they began to conduct surveillance of Montoya’s house in Garden City, GA, to determine his pattern of activities.
One day, Juan Rangel-Rubio showed up at Montoya’s home and shot him dead.
Legal challenge: Law enforcement officials brought criminal charges, alleging that the brothers engaged in a conspiracy to kill a government whistleblower.
The ruling: The brothers lost. Juan pleaded guilty, and Pablo was later found guilty by a jury.
Based on U.S.A. v. Pablo Rangel-Rubio, et al.
(From the Nov. 25, 2022, issue of HR Managers Legal Alert for Supervisors. To start your no-obligation trial subscription to the publication right now, please click here.)