Two Alexandria, Virginia, men who’ve pleaded guilty Thursday to a scheme that involved defrauding the charity Goodwill of Greater Washington face up to 20 years in prison.
Alaa Nimr Garada, 57, and Rafik Moheyeldin, 65, operated a business known as WTC2 that collected and resold clothing to customers in Africa, Asia, South America and along the U.S.-Mexico boarder, according to a news release from the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
“We’re extremely disappointed to find out this was the type of business he was operating,” Goodwill of Greater Washington spokesman Brendan Hurley said.
“We sold Allaa (Garada) merchandise that was donated to Goodwill through our donation bins. Allaa (Garada) paid us for those goods and the money was funneled back into Goodwill’s mission to provide free job training and employment services to people with disabilities and disadvantages.”
Hurley said Goodwill terminated its relationship with Garada after his services became unreliable.
The Justice Department news release states WTC wasn’t supposed to keep clothes donated to Goodwill collection bins if Goodwill retail stores needed them. However, the company changed logos on the collection bins and kept the clothes.
The guilty plea states between 2012 until 2016, WTC2 had a gross income of about $8 million per year and its workers were mostly unauthorized immigrants: for whom the company paid no payroll taxes. The workers also didn’t get overtime or receive benefits such as unemployment and/or workers’ compensation insurance.
In one case described in the news release, an employee got nothing from WTC2 or an insurance company after a forklift ran over the worker’s foot.
The Justice Department news release states that actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum possible penalties, but Garada and Moheyeldin each face up to 20 years in prison when they’re sentenced on June 26.
As part of the plea, the two men also agreed to pay the government $3.9 million.
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