Six charged in money laundering scheme that paid undocumented workers millions

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A $13-million money laundering scheme paid undocumented workers in the Kansas City metro area according to the U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. A federal indictment charges six men with money laundering, bank fraud, and harboring undocumented workers.

For two years, the indictment says undocumented workers were paid $13-million out of a Boost Mobile in Olathe.

The indictment says it worked like this. Keith Countess, a Lawrence contractor, paid a man called José Torres in checks. Torres, called a subcontractor, would deposit the check and take out cash.

The cash would be distributed to three crew leaders. Then according to court documents, those crew leaders would hire undocumented workers and pay them under the table.

“You go the emergency room and we as a community pay for that because that employer does not provide workers compensation,” said Grissom.

Grissom says these types of schemes affect every tax paying citizen.

“In my view, and I think in the view of many people, employers who are knowingly employing undocumented workers is a reason for our nation's trouble with unlawful immigration. Simply, if no one is hiring, no one is coming,” he said.

Grissom said the undocumented workers are also victims in this scheme.