BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – A report from The Advocate newspaper is putting a spotlight on Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s business dealings with a man in prison for cheating the immigration system.
Marco Pesquera is currently in prison for felony work visa fraud. Pesquera told Advocate reporters he used a scheme similar to what landed him in prison using misleading documents to try and secure foreign labor for Landry’s businesses.
Essentially, Pesquera falsified or manufactured documents to improve the companies he was working for would be approved for the work visa program.
A limited number of visas are allowed under the immigration program. The federal government sets their wages, which some critics say are too low and can be exploited to save construction companies money. Those work visas do not let the immigrant workers leave for a better job.
The Landry camp says they paid most of their foreign laborers more than the federal minimum, and call any allegations they exploited the system to try and save money “false.” Landry’s spokesman repeatedly criticized Pesquera’s credibility, noting that he was put in prison essentially for lying.
In a recorded statement released two days prior to the Advocate’s story, the Attorney General’s brother Benjamin Landry, a co-owner of the businesses, accused the newspaper of playing politics.
“The Advocate went to a convicted criminal – a person who caused us tremendous difficulty. Someone on whom I blew the whistle to shut down his potentially fraudulent business practices,” Benjamin Landry said in a recorded statement before The Advocate story was published.
Pesquera did tell The Advocate he turned over emails and records that back up his statements in hopes he might get a deal with federal prosecutors.
The Advocate published those documents Friday, which did reveal that one of Landry’s businesses demonstrated a need for foreign labor to the federal government using work orders submitted by another Landry business.
Essentially, one Landry company to create demand for another Landry company to meet.