LITTLE ROCK (CN) - A federal class action claims Miami-based Star One Staffing cheated more than 100 Filipino workers in a bait-and-switch recruitment scam, charging as much as $9,000 up front for visas and other "fees," then sending them to jobs at far different circumstances, and pay, than promised. The class claims Star One did this in defiance of a 2008 agreement with New York State that cost the recruiter $113,000.
Star One recruits workers for country clubs in Arkansas, according to the complaint. The workers say they were promised "at least 40 hours of work each week at specific job sites with a specific pay rate." But when they arrived as guest workers, on H-2B visas, they were told "the specific jobs they were supposed to work were no longer available."
They say they were offered different jobs at different pay which they were forced to accept because Star One did not provide money for a return trip home.
"Plaintiff Morena Roco paid Star One over $9,000 in placement and legal fees in order for her to work in the United States," according to the complaint.
Workers say they were forced to work illegally because Star One failed to file paperwork for the job switch. They Star One paid them late and deducted so much money from their paychecks for "expenses" that they went into debt.
The illegal deductions included $100 a week for housing, $60 a week for transportation, $40 a week for food, and more money for uniforms and telephones, the class claims.
The class seeks damages for illegal wage withholdings, breach of contract, fraud, negligent representation, racketeering, and Labor Law violations. They are represented by attorney John Sanford.
The New York Attorney General's 2008 complaint is attached to the filing.