BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. — Federal agents raided the metro Atlanta home of a local business owner and seized classic cars, souped-up trucks and more than a dozen guns!
Investigators told Channel 2 Action News that the suspect, Juan Antonio Perez, an immigrant who they say is in the U.S. illegally, funded his lavish lifestyle by cheating his workers and the government.
"This victimizes everyone who’s doing it correctly," said U.S. Attorney Bjay Pak.
The feds showed Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant a fleet of luxury cars, tricked-out trucks and a cache of weapons all seized in a series of raids last week on homes and businesses Perez owns in northwest Georgia and east Tennessee.
“I’m glad that we are able to bring him to justice," Pak said.
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The feds said Perez came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico in the early '90s, opened Aztec Construction in 2009 and spent years getting super rich by employing hundreds of illegal immigrants at below market wages and not paying taxes.
“They were being exploited. The law protects them, too," Pak said.
Pak told Channel 2 Perez's scheme allowed him to undercut legitimate contractors bidding on jobs for years. He also shielded himself through an elaborate system of shell companies and subcontractors to hide his wealth and evade detection.
“This is a prime example of the ills of the illegal immigration system. You can argue it however you want to, but for the work that we do, this is exactly what we want in an immigration case," said Nick Annan, Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent in charge.
Perez is charged with harboring an alien for financial gain and for being an illegal alien in possession of firearms.
Cox Media Group