Pinay business owner sued for indentured servitude

By Don Tagala, ABS CBN North America Bureau

July 8, 2013

NEW YORK CITY – Lee Javier is a physical therapy aide who has sued his former employer, Marissa Teves Beck for wage theft, charging illegal immigration fees, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) violations, violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and other state and local law violations charges.

Beck is known in the Filipino community for her Filipino restaurants and health care companies.

“My rights were violated. I got threats, when I told her I will sue her, she kept on threatening me,” Javier said.

“This case is about a very sophisticated, wealthy recruiter who’s taking advantage of a very hard working, innocent Filipino worker,” his lawyer John Howley said.

Javier came to the US with a visitor’s visa in 2008 hoping to find a job as a physical therapist. He then came in contact with Beck’s trusted employee Violy Morales seeking employment.

“Sabi ko, anong gusto mo? Nagpapasok daw ng trabaho,” Morales said, “Tinawagan ko si Tita Marissa, sabi ko yung kaklase nung anak ko naghahanap ng trabaho, PT siya. Noong una very demanding nga siya pati sa pamasahe, sabi ko gumawa ka naman ng paraan diyan.”

Without a US license to work as a physical therapist in New York, Javier changed his status to an F-1 foreign student visa with Beck’s help in order to stay in America. Javier said he was allegedly forced to work as a waiter, dishwasher and delivery boy for one of Beck’s restaurant’s at $9 per hour in order to pay for school.

After Javier allegedly paid about $3,500 in immigration fees, Beck then petitioned him for an H1-B temporary worker’s visa as a physical therapy rehab manager through one of her healthcare companies.

But the Immigration and Nationality Act requires employers to pay all the fees associated with H1B applications. And instead of getting the promised $35.53 per hour wage he was allegedly only paid $15, according to the complaint filed.

Javier also alleges that he never got paid for overtime work at Beck’s restaurants and as a therapy aide.

“They didn’t get his H1B Visa right away, they made him pay for school that was really worthless, that was really a sham just to get the student visa,” Howley said, “They lied to Social Security, they told Social Security that he was going to work as clerk in their office for 20 hours a week but they knew full well that they were going to place him as a PT or a PT Aide.”

“Paano siya mag-aano ng PT eh hindi pa siya licensed? For the meantime para nga mabuhay sila pati yung tirahan dun, dun siya nakatira,” Morales said, “Kaya suwerte nga sila lalo na’t tourist 2lang naman sila di ba?”

Javier is seeking compensatory and punitive damages as well as reasonable attorney’s fees, the amount of which is to be determined at trial.

Javier filed the complaint in May but it was only last week when Beck’s counsel filed a request for an extension to respond to the complaint.

Beck declined Balitang America’s request for an on-camera interview but in a hand written note, she denied all the charges against her and her companies saying they are frivolous and baseless.

Beck has until the end of the month to respond to Javier’s allegations while an initial pre-trial conference has been scheduled on August 9 at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan US Courthouse in Manhattan.

You may contact Don Tagala at

26 Comments on this post.

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  • jorge buesa
    8 July 2013 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    why did you look for job on a vistor visa ? you are wrong your on a visa to vist america not work, that’s why people like you make trouble for other people that come here on working visa.

    • Tobias Habron
      9 July 2013 at 6:06 am - Reply

      Jorge Buesa, You are a blatant idiot, Ms. Beck petitioned Mr. Javier an H1-B visa, meaning eligible to work in the US . The main issue here is the employer, Ms. Beck, lied to the federal government that Mr. Javier will be working as a PT, instead of working as a PT , he’s working as a dead jobs for Ms. Beck’s firms.

    • delialusional
      11 July 2013 at 8:29 am - Reply

      That is why people like you Jorge, needs to learn how to read and write. What grade are you in at school?

  • kikayPang0
    8 July 2013 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    Deport him …. PT is no longer needed in most hospitals and therapy clinics .

  • jorge buesa
    9 July 2013 at 9:19 am - Reply

    I’m sorry i made a mistake in understanding what happen ? I should have said was a idiot wanted to work in america and was setup by a person that wanted to pay cheap wages.

    • delialusional
      10 July 2013 at 6:36 am - Reply

      napapala mo sa kakasagot ng hindi nagbabasa.

  • Delia
    10 July 2013 at 9:32 am - Reply

    One will end up getting deported and the other will end up in a cage after heavy fines.

  • noz
    10 July 2013 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    javier represent the 40% plus non immigrant visa holders with insidious intent to stay, knowingly he is not doing the right thing. the question is, was his student visa granted prior to the expiration of his tourist or visitor visa?. the whole story line under oath will squeeze out the truth in the court of law, if ever it will come down to a trial. the pre-trial conference will determine, if javier with his burden of proof has strong hard evidence, not just his verbal allegations against the defendant, since NYC court system are overloaded with cases. likewise the defendant will have to negate the accusations with documents as evidences, witnesses. cases are not heard fast as what many may think, therefore his H1-B visa is only as good as with this employer he is suing. for javier to take job with another employer is illegal, without the H1-B visa filed on his behalf by his found employer. citizens/legal aliens can’t even find jobs these days, but are willing to take jobs out of their comfort zones, even going overseas as long as its decent pay.

    javier saying his jobs was degrading as a waiter, dishwasher, delivery, etc, is a pure filipino mentality, considered offensives to american workers. america is the land with dignity of labor on honest jobs performed by american workers from collecting garbage, cleaning streets, humans, animals, digging ditches or graves, you name it. historically, this is the only country in the world where you can find laborers down to dishwashers can have a chance to own a home, other luxury of life, if they are frugal to save their hard earned money, but the hard working middle class are dwindling with hefty income taxations, as well as so many are on the welfare system supported by the income taxpayers.

    • delialusional
      11 July 2013 at 6:14 am - Reply

      ay nako eto na naman ang famous percentage analysis, ano ito PBA or NBA 40 pct. shooting on perimeter?

    • delialusional
      11 July 2013 at 8:28 am - Reply

      Noz qc- what are you trying to say? I am having a little bit of a hard time understanding your concept on your response. It seems like you are writing a legal opinion without legal research. Get it?

      • noz
        12 July 2013 at 6:50 am - Reply

        check your comprehension skills av for fine tuning.

  • jorge buesa
    11 July 2013 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Hey delialusional what your occupation a lawyer or unemploy. I may not write like you ? But i think i don’t live like you like a poor and no money. You should go back to philppines and help the poor you look like your a smart person. You write good and think your smart but people from phillipines will always sit in the back of the bus and do all the shit jobs in america that’s where you belong.

    • delialusional
      11 July 2013 at 1:59 pm - Reply

      I am amused on how you label someone so low. You really should know where you came from to have a better understanding of who you really are….

  • jorge buesa
    11 July 2013 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Delialusional yes your right i should know where i came from, right here america born here my dad is from philippines and my mom is american. That’s why i seem all been to philippines 4 times and brother are you all poor,my god all you smart one like you should go back to philippines and help the poor people,we don’t need you here in america to tell us we can’t write good or make fun of us. So if you want to see smart people go back to philipines all day they only talking about smart things like how to write a sentence. Oh how they going to come america and ride the back of the bus. I’m sorry i only went to 8th grade but i have only 5 homes in america, i’m over 60 years old.

    • noz
      11 July 2013 at 11:11 pm - Reply

      jorge buesa, indeed you nailed that nail in the head of delialusional alright, who has zero comprehension of the meaning of dignity of labor in america. the jobs of waiting tables, cleaning, washing dishes, picking garbage, etc are not look down upon by anybody, except by someone with filipino mentality, just like all these filipino soap storyline dramas looking down, belittling people with unskilled jobs. the lawyers, MD’s, scientists, PHD’s, all the advanced professionals mostly were once had worked as waiters, cleaners, dishwashers, garbage collectors, etc. the most known for waiting tables are the artists, actors with their sporadic earnings, no projects, no dollars in their pockets. risk taker entrepreneurs, tons of them are without college degrees have become millionaires to billionaires, just because their patented original ideas or inventions have become a big splash to the buying consumers. in america, financial success is attainable not only by professionals, but by non professional with competitive guts, grabbing opportunities that can make anyone financially independent. this spirit of competitiveness is being assaulted by the marxist ideology of obama, the far, far lefty socialist agendas of the democratic party.

    • noz
      11 July 2013 at 11:56 pm - Reply

      forgot to tell you jorge buesa, more power to you for your stable financial status. lawyers, i had used for legal services like real estates had jobs as dishwashers, janitors before becoming JD’s or lawyers. republican speaker of the house john boehner was cleaning floors as a working college student, he also worked at 8 years old in their own family bar business started by his grandfather. all this BS talks republicans are for the rich folks are pure rhetorics. the republican party platform are jobs for all citizens and legal aliens with able minds and bodies, and all must work really hard for self sufficiency, this kind of platform will never ever sell to those who are welfare recipients, captured, radically indoctrinated by the democratic party

      • delialusional
        12 July 2013 at 6:24 am - Reply

        Oh my ! Can’t believe that these Chinese nationals are bullying in any other way they can aren’t they? First thing you guys, learn how to read and write okay?

        • noz
          12 July 2013 at 6:28 am - Reply

          tell that to yourself

          • delialusional
            12 July 2013 at 6:31 am -

            I beg your pardon Mr. Noz?

          • noz
            12 July 2013 at 6:45 am -

            check your writing.

    • delialusional
      12 July 2013 at 6:27 am - Reply

      Yeah whatever Jorge, you are just Noz, Rick, Rodney atbp. Mga bulok ang mga budhi ninyong lahat ! I have these and that, but you all know one thing you guys don’t have? THAT IS DIGNITY !

      • noz
        12 July 2013 at 6:44 am - Reply

        are you buloknaisda, av? poor thing, we are the follower of the rule of law, surely we sliced deep, rattled your conscience with your firing back of the usual victim scenarios. whatever we say as believers of the laws of the land, the USA, what is it to you? let see you are an outlaw, the modern day word is lawbreaker.

        • delialusional
          12 July 2013 at 6:54 am - Reply

          check your writing Noz, you can’t even write past and present tenses. Oh my my.

          • delialusional
            12 July 2013 at 6:59 am -

            Rule of law? we all do abide by the law, idiot ! But the laws of immigration of this country is broken, why in the world minor children of LPR’s have to wait many years to come here, why in the world brothers and sisters of Filipinos have to wait 30 years to come, while Chinese citizens only have to wait 10 years? Why can’t they protect the Mexican borders, why can’t they enforce deportation for those whom overstayed their visas? Ask yourselves these questions before you react to these issues? You all are not looking at the heart of the problem, you are only looking at the tail end of this mess.

        • delialusional
          12 July 2013 at 7:11 am - Reply

          Wha happen? (per chinese). What happened Noz, did you just choke? Or are you grasping on a google about writing??

    • delialusional
      12 July 2013 at 6:42 am - Reply

      Really Jorge we are all poor? Are you sure you went to the Philippines? The last time I went home I didn’t see that all people in the Philippines are poor? So, know your darn facts and don’t generalize. You keep saying that you are half these and that, while your attitude towards the other half of your claimed race stinks and does not deserve any respect from your fellow Filipino. So, what’s the big deal Jorge? The big Deal is you should stop your rotten attitude and stop saying that you own these and that, what are you going to say next, that you have a million-dollar in Hawaii that you have just purchased and that you will buy my tickets to see your dream house? Then when you are on the edge and about to fall, you would say that you have been fooled by a Filipino and stole your money? You guys all have one thing in common, you like to argue but when you are faced with someone who does not want to back down in the heat of an argument, you fold and simply vanish and reload and say these nonsense things about Filipinos. Get a life man, get a good life. Remember especially for an old cat like you, that what goes around, comes around….