Man guilty of visa fraud in Thai welders' case

By AMY TAXIN | November 23, 2011 | 3:55 PM EST

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities say a California man has been convicted of seeking visa extensions for Thai welders purportedly hired for a construction job when in reality they were forced to work at restaurants and live in deplorable conditions.

Attorneys say Yoo Taik Kim was found guilty by a Los Angeles jury Tuesday of visa fraud and lying on his citizenship application.

Prosecutors say Kim filed to extend visas in 2003 for 25 Thai welders purportedly to work at Trans Bay Steel when most never worked there.

Prosecutors say Kim lied on his naturalization application about his work as a manpower agent and will lose his U.S. citizenship as a result.

Defense attorney Raul Ayala says Kim lacked understanding of U.S. immigration and labor laws and did not intend to employ the workers.