Cooling centers open to help battle extreme heat

UPDATE: Spring Hill business charged with harboring undocumented workers

SPRING HILL, Kan. — Authorities with Homeland Security, ICE (U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement), the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Spring Hill, Kan., police were at Advantage Framing Systems in Spring Hill, Kan., on Monday after charging the owners and managers with harboring undocumented workers.

“The indictment alleges the defendants devised a scheme to lower their operating costs and boost their profits by employing undocumented workers,” said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. “The company did not pay for Social Security, workers compensation or unemployment insurance benefits for those employees.”

The employee, who has worked with the company for six years as a truck driver, said the IRS and agents with ICE gathered all the employees in the cafeteria Monday morning and began finger printing everyone. The employee said some were allowed to leave, but were instructed to remove all their personal belongings from their locker. Other employees were detained.

The employee who spoke with FOX 4 said the IRS and ICE agents seized company trucks and have since shut down the business.

Advantage Framing provided local builders and contractors with engineered floor, pre-built wall panels and roof truss systems, along with onsite framing erection labor.

The company had two components: Advantage Framing Systems, Inc., was the umbrella for the framing services and trucking. Advantage Component Systems, Inc., carried out the equipment, lumber, inventory and design functions.

The indictment alleges owner James Humbert, his wife and co-owner Kimberly Humbert, part-owner and brother of Kim, Charles Stevens, and the company itself were responsible for hiring undocumented workers for the purpose of lowering the company’s operating costs.

The wages the company paid did not include the employer’s share of Social Security payments, workers compensation, or unemployment insurance benefits paid to lawfully employed workers in the construction industry. They placed themselves at a competitive advantage to other builders who did not employ undocumented workers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the investigation began last March.

Sometime in 2005, James Humbert told a potential investor in Advantage that he knew of an individual who makes fraudulent identification documents for Advantage’s undocumented workers.

Advantage employed 25 to 33 framing crews — each consisted of five to six workers.

The indictment alleges that James Humbert and Kim Humbert practiced running a drill in the event that immigration official came to the business. They remarked that the “white guys would have no clue what to do while everyone else ran and hid.”

This is a developing story. Please refresh this page for updates.

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