Courts news

A Rydal man was indicted this week on charges that he ran his construction company, which operated in Northwest Georgia and Eastern Tennessee, profited by employing workers in the country without work permits and paying them below-market wages.

Juan Antonio Perez, 46, of Rydal, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday on those charges as well as charges that he lived in the country illegally and possessed 14 firearms.

“Perez not only broke the law by allegedly hiring illegal aliens at below-market wages and paying no taxes, he had a large assortment of weapons including shotguns and pistols that he had acquired through various means other than buying them himself,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak in a press release. “Illegal aliens, such as Perez, are not allowed to own firearms at all. We will get to the bottom of how he acquired them.”

According to Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court:

Perez allegedly came to the United States illegally in 1992. He has lived in Bartow County, and has operated Aztec Framing at least since 2009. Aztec Framing has offices in Cartersville and Rossville in Georgia, and Hixon, Tennessee.

Perez allegedly employed undocumented workers at below-market rates, provided no benefits or insurance, and did not pay payroll taxes or Social Security.

Perez built his family a 7,500-square-foot house, bought other houses where he allowed some of his employees to live, and purchased more than 50 sports cars and heavily customized trucks.

As of April 2019, the Georgia Department of Labor had no record of Perez reporting any income. Perez was also known to collect firearms, and was found to have 14 in his home when agents searched it on April 30.

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad and the Polk County Drug Task Force.

He will be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 13, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson.