Halifax businessman who exploited Filipino workers asks for forgiveness
Hector Mantolino withheld at least $500,000 from workers
January 28, 2019, 4:35 pm ASTLast Updated: January 29, 2019, 7:35 pm
A Halifax businessman who pleaded guilty to exploiting foreign workers from the Philippines could spend two years in federal prison, a court heard on Friday.
Hector Mantolino pleaded guilty in December to violating the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Crown attorney Timothy McLaughlin asked Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Glen McDougall to sentence him to two years in prison.
Mantolino asked his family to forgive him.
“If I would have known the consequences of what I had done, I would have never done it,” he told the court Friday.
According to court documents, Mantolino brought 28 temporary foreign workers to Canada to staff his cleaning company, but underpaid them and forced them to work extended hours. The difference between minimum wage and what was paid to the workers was at least $500,000.
One worker, Joven Ednalaguim, told the court he was once paid $500 for working 160 hours.
“I shut my mouth for four years,” he said. “Because of exhaustion and over-fatigue, my body just couldn’t cope. I threw up blood, and that’s the time he let me take a day off to go see a doctor.”
Ednalaguim said he was involved in two car accidents while working for Mantolino because he was exhausted.
Mantolino’s attorney, Ian Hutchison, suggested an alternative sentence: two years of house arrest.
Hutchinson said Mantolino is a first-time offender who is unlikely to reoffend. He also said Mantolino has suffered already as he’s filed for bankruptcy and lost three properties.
Mantolino’s sentencing hearing is scheduled to resume on March 1 at 10:30 a.m.