Couple Charged With Employing
Undocumented Workers At Wichita Chinese Restaurant
WICHITA, KAN. – The operators of a west Wichita Chinese restaurant have been arrested in connection with an indictment alleging that they employed undocumented workers, U. S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced Tuesday.
The operators, Yong “Tony” Lin, 33, and his wife, Zhuo Mei “Mandy” Weng, 29, both of Wichita, were arrested Tuesday by agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on warrants issued in connection with a federal indictment. The indictment charges conspiracy and harboring of aliens unlawfully in the United States, Grissom said.
“The U.S. Attorney’s office is aggressively pursuing employers who knowingly hire undocumented and falsely-documented workers,” Grissom said Tuesday. “When a business engages in this practice, it not only encourages illegal immigration, it also gives the employer an unfair advantage in the marketplace. We have several more ongoing investigations along these lines.”
Agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in cooperation with the Wichita Police Department, also executed search warrants at three west Wichita apartments and the restaurant, World Buffet Grill, 2243 N. Ridge Rd., Grissom said. Lin and Weng were booked into the Sedgwick County jail and are scheduled to make an initial court appearance at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale.
The indictment, which was sealed after its filing on Sept. 11, alleges two counts of conspiracy and six counts of harboring, in addition to seeking criminal forfeiture of assets associated with the alleged crimes. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of five years in prison on each of the eight counts. As in any criminal case, the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The indictment alleges that defendants Lin and Weng paid employees in cash, failed to withhold for taxes and Social Security, failed to maintain unemployment and workers compensation insurance, and failed to complete and maintain DHS Employment Eligibility Authorization (I-9) forms.
The case was investigated by HSI with the assistance of the Wichita Police Department, the Exploited and Missing Children’s Unit, and the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office. The prosecutors are Brent Anderson and Jason Hart, both assistant United States attorneys.