Two North Carolina brothers who profited by having illegal immigrant workers from their native Mexico smuggled in to work in their construction company for below minimum wage will spend years in prison.
Federal prosecutors said Thursday the brothers owned J&A Framers Carpentry, which during the housing boom heavily employed illegal immigrants among its more than 70 workers.
A federal judge in New Bern sentenced the naturalized U.S. citizens from Durham, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to harbor illegal aliens.
Juan Antonio Lopez-Ponce was sentenced to 37 months in prison. Jose Alfredo Lopez-Ponce will serve 26 months.
Prosecutors say the brothers paid smuggling rings to get illegal Mexican workers into the U.S., underpaid them, charged them rent to live in housing the brothers owned, and falsified income tax records.