Contractor to Serve Time after Subjecting Migrant Farmworkers to Forced Labor
A Florida labor contractor is headed to prison for nearly 10 years after a U.S. Department of Labor and multi-agency investigation into his part in a conspiracy to subject migrant farmworkers to forced labor, obstruct investigators, intimidate witnesses and house workers in unsafe and unhealthy living conditions.
On Dec. 29, 2022, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida sentenced Bladimir Moreno – a Bartow farm labor contractor who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit forced labor and racketeering charges – to 118 months in prison and to pay more than $175,000 in restitution to the victims. The court also debarred Moreno from participating in the H-2A temporary agricultural workers visa program and assessed penalties totaling $203,350.
The prosecution is part of an investigation begun in 2017 by federal agencies in several states. Workers who had escaped their unhealthy living and forced labor conditions first reported the violations.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Moreno is the owner of Los Villatoros Harvesting LLC.