Filipinos Wilfredo Tiongco Ngo and Maria Teresa Lamayo Ngo operated a massive scheme that kept illegal immigrants secretly working in the United States at the pair's elderly health care assistance business in Orange County.
By repeatedly changing their company's name, encouraging sham marriages and manipulating independent contractor employment laws, the pair avoided detection by the Department of Homeland Security until confidential informants squealed and federal agents made arrests.
In 2010, the defendants signed guilty pleas for aiding and abetting illegal alien residency.
U.S. District Court Judge Dave O. Carter then ignored the wishes of a federal prosecutor who wanted the defendants sent to prison for one year and instead sentenced them to two years of probation.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
In 2011, the Ngos discovered that government immigration officials had opened deportation proceedings against them for their crimes. They asked Carter to withdraw their guilty pleas by claiming their defense lawyers had not advised them that they would be automatically deported. They even cited a U.S. Supreme Court case they claimed invalidates their convictions because of "ineffective assistance of counsel."
But this month, Carter determined that the pair had lied about not knowing the consequences of their guilty pleas. He refused to vacate the convictions and thus is allowing the deportations to occur. In other words, it's two official "noes" for the Ngos.
According to federal law enforcement reports reviewed by the Weekly, the pair operated using the names A-Plus Senior Planning Services, A-Plus Senior Services, Inc. and Better Care Solutions and employed as many as 44 foreign nationals at one time.