A Canadian businessman had his sentencing hearing today after being sued for taking advantage of foreign workers by falsely offering them the "Canadian dream". The Halifax businessman has now been found guilty of exploiting several Filipino workers that were hoping for a better life in Canada.
Hector Mantolino was found guilty of immigration fraud today in court. For his sentence, the Crown is now recommending two years in prison, according to CTV News.
Mantolino is actually originally from the Philippines himself. Yet despite this, he was found guilty of taking advantage of fellow Filipinos for several years and the whole story is heartbreaking.
Mantolino was the owner of several cleaning and maintenance companies. In order to find employees for his business, he used the temporary foreign worker program. He brought a total of 28 workers to Canada from the Philippines over several years.
Dozens of Filipinos moved all the way from their home country in search of a better life because of Mantolino, only to be exploited by the businessman once they moved to Canada.
"They all came for a Canadian dream, and that dream was not for sale. This is a case where that dream was sold," said Crown lawyer Timothy McLaughlin during the court hearing.
Some of the Filipino workers Mantolino hired read victim impact statements and said that they were underpaid and worked long hours. They said that they stayed silent despite the harsh working conditions because they were scared of getting deported back to the Philippines.
Jamie Jason Sta Juana Jr., who used to work for the businessman, called Mantolino "heartless" in court. "He broke my dream for the future of my family, and had a great impact in my life," he said.
"The financial and emotional devastation is too intense to be able to describe in words." While working for Mantolino, Jamie Jason Sta Juana Jr. was unable to even pay for diapers or formula for his child.
"Where there is desire, there are people who are willing to exploit that desire," said Crown lawyer Timothy McLaughlin in court. "Mantolino is a person who knew where these people were to exploit that desire".
However, some of his workers were supportive of the businessman because they said he did help them and make their lives better by helping them immigrate to Canada. Joe Mari Mangunay said in court that the businessman was "very nice to us" but knew there were problems with how much he was getting paid. "I am very thankful and so is my family," he said in court.
The legal defence team for Mantolino is expected to be making its sentencing arguments in court this week on Friday.
Source: CTV News