Four current and former operators of a Streamwood metal production company were arrested by federal immigration officers Friday and charged with hiring through an Elgin staffing company immigrant living in the country illegally, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago said.
Dora Kuzelka, 81, of Elgin, Kenneth Kuzelka, 62, of Chicago, Kari Kuzelka, 56, of Elgin, and Keith Kuzelka, 58, of Elgin face federal charges of deliberately harboring an illegal aliens and deliberate engage in a pattern or practice of hiring illegal aliens.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois, based in Chicago, said Kuzelkas deliberately hired at least 1[ads1]8 undocumented workers at KSO MetalFab Inc. Keith Kuzelka left the company last year, while the other three Kuzelkas continue to serve as senior positions , states the complaint filed in the federal court in Chicago.
Dora Kuzelka, Kenneth Kuzelka and Kari Kuzelka were arrested Friday morning, while Keith Kuzelka surrendered to the authorities Friday afternoon, the US Attorney's Office said. All four defendants appeared in federal court in Chicago Friday afternoon and were ordered released on recognition bonds. They are the next to appear in court Oct. 29.
According to the complaint, Homeland Security's Chicago investigative office conducted an audit of KSO MetalFab in 2017, stating that 36 of the company's 67 employees were suspected of using fraudulent work permit documents to verify their employability. HSI announced the company with a notice of the suspected violations, and the company responded by testifying that it had terminated the 36 employees.
When Keith Kuzelka, who worked for KSO from 2010 to 2018, contacted the authorities in December 2018 and told them KSO worked with a "company A" to get back at least 18 of its temporary staff, the complaint states.
"Company A" is Metro Staff Inc., an Elgin business, the U.S. Attorney's office confirmed.
"Apparently they fired up and brought them back through the staffing company," said Joseph Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the US Attorney's Office.
Keith Kuzelka said the KSO paid the company a fee in addition to the workers' wages, according to the complaint. He also claimed an overtime and tax fraud scheme by the company.
The US Attorney's Office did not say what, if anything, happened to the workers on Friday.
Immigration officers were also at the Metro Staff office on McLean Boulevard in Elgin Friday, but no arrests were made there, Fitzpatrick said. They were there for "other law enforcement activity," he said.
No one at the business answered the phone Friday afternoon.
Shawn Neudauer, public prosecutor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, referred questions to the U.S. Attorney's Office, saying, "This case is part of an ongoing criminal investigation."
The US Attorney's Office said that, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations were involved in the probe and arrests, as was the US Department of Labor and Social Security Administration.
Elgin police said they were alerted by Homeland Security investigators Thursday night about the action Friday. "They said there would be some enforcement in our jurisdiction," police Cmdr. Rick Ciganek said so.
The alert was a courtesy often extended by outside law enforcement agencies when performing operations in the city, Ciganek said.
• Daily Herald reporter Steve Zalusky contributed to this report.