SPRINGFIELD — A Champaign roofing firm and its owner have been found guilty of visa fraud and harboring immigrants who entered the country illegally.

Edwin J. Gire, owner of Gire Roofing Inc. and its corporate parent, Grayson Enterprises Inc., were convicted of the federal charges by U.S. District Court Judge Sue E. Myerscough after her review of evidence presented during a six-day trial in November.

Gire, 46, faces up to 10 years on each of the visa and harboring charges when he is sentenced June 4. The business property in Champaign used to harbor the immigrants also is subject to forfeiture.

In June, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of unlawful employment of immigrants who entered the country illegally.

Evidence at Gire's trial showed that between 2011 and 2014, he submitted four petitions to the Department of Homeland Security to hire the workers. Multiple fraudulent roofing contracts were submitted to justify the petitions, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of Illinois.

Gire allowed the three workers to live in a building owned by his company to entice the workers to stay on the job, despite the fact they were paid less than the applicable prevailing wage, federal prosecutors argued at the trial.

The company-owned housing made it easier for the workers to remain undetected by authorities, said the government.

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Follow Edith Brady-Lunny on Twitter: @pg_blunny



Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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