HALIFAX — A Filipino Canadian businessman pleaded guilty December 5 to submitting false records to immigration authorities, confirming several Filipino temporary workers’ charge that he had underpaid them.
Several dozen temporary workers helped investigators from the Canada Border Services Agency in investigating Hector Mantolino’s employment practices. It took them five years to get justice.
Mantolino, 55, owner of Mantolino Property Services Ltd., pleaded guilty to misrepresentation under provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, for “false information regarding the employment” of at least 25 other workers listed on the federal indictment.
He was originally charged in June 2013 with 56 counts of immigration fraud following a Canada Border Services Agency investigation. Those charges were rolled into a single indictment.
Mantolino told foreign workers to provide misleading and untruthful statements on their work permit applications between July 2010 and April 2013. He told the workers to lie about their wages if they wanted to stay in Canada. Some workers stated in court documents that they were paid as little as $3.13 per hour.
The judge set a March 13 sentencing hearing.
Defense lawyer Lee Cohen said the plea means his client is acknowledging some misrepresentations, according to CTV News.
But he said the final submissions of “intimate details” on March 13 may change the public’s view of the case. Cohen said he’ll be arguing for “a minimal sentence.”
The possibility of a light sentence worries the victimized workers. Crown prosecutor Tim McLaughlin counseled the immigrants following the hearing on how to prepare their victim impact statements prior to the sentencing hearing.