The onetime owner of a Minneapolis temporary-work agency was sentenced Thursday in federal court in St. Paul to one year and one day in prison for pocketing more than $425,000 withheld from employees' paychecks for taxes.
Doris Ruiz, 40, a native of Peru, once served on Mayor R.T. Rybak's Latino Advisory Committee and started Olen Staff Co. in 2001.
Federal agents shut down her company in 2008 during an investigation into allegations that she supplied false documentation and placed illegal immigrants, most of them Mexican-born workers, with employers in Ashland, Wis., Blackduck in northern Minnesota and the Twin Cities.
In her plea agreement in January, Ruiz admitted collecting and withholding about $150,292 from employees for federal income taxes and $276,897 in Social Security and Medicare taxes. From 2005 to 2007, she did not pay taxes for herself or the workers.
In exchange for pleading guilty and for agreeing to pay all money owed, Ruiz escaped further prosecution relating to employment taxes.
Affidavits filed in federal court alleged that most of the workers placed by Ruiz at factories, construction companies and other businesses were illegal immigrants.
In 2006, a Carlton County sheriff's deputy stopped Ruiz with three adults in a car. Ruiz said they were on their way to a job site in Ashland, Wis. The U.S. Border Patrol later discovered the workers were in the country illegally. Two months later, a confidential informant posed as a job-seeker with no documentation, and Ruiz set him up with a job and an apartment in Ashland.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482