Greg Leon Pleads Guilty to Engaging in Pattern of Hiring Illegal Aliens
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Greg Leon, age 49, of Lexington, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to engaging in a pattern and practice of hiring illegal aliens, a violation of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1324a(a)(2) and 1324a(f)(1). Senior United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. of Columbia accepted the guilty plea today in federal court in Columbia and will sentence Leon after he has reviewed the presentence report to be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office. As part of the plea agreement, Leon previously pleaded guilty in South Carolina General Sessions Court to paying a public official for assistance in violation of South Carolina Code Section 8-13-720.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Leon operated eight restaurants in the Midlands of South Carolina. Leading up to May of 2013, Leon engaged in a pattern of hiring and employing individuals that he knew were in the country illegally and not eligible to work. Leon was involved in hiring approximately sixty illegal aliens. In addition to the hiring of those illegal aliens, Leon paid former Lexington County Sheriff James Metts for his assistance on several occasions when Metts helped or attempted to help one of the illegal alien employees that had been arrested.
Over the last two years, Leon has cooperated extensively and provided substantial assistance in the investigation and prosecution of Metts. Based on that cooperation, the Government agreed that a sentence of one year of probation and a fine of $180,000—in addition to the five years of probation and 200 hours of community service imposed by the state court—was an appropriate resolution for Leon’s criminal charges.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigation, State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Jay N. Richardson and Jim H. May are prosecuting the case.