FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
MARCH 28, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE KAWASAKI RESTAURANT OPERATORS ORDERED TO FORFEIT OVER $1 MILLION IN ASSETS FOR HARBORING/EMPLOYING ILLEGAL ALIENS AND MONEY LAUNDERING
BALTIMORE, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake ordered today that Tzu Ming Yang, age 49, and Jack Chang, age 42, both of Clarksville, Maryland, and Yang’s wife, Jui Fan Lee Yang, age 50, forfeit approximately $386,000 in cash, properties located at 514 South Chapel Street and 1535 Melton Road, and luxury vehicles, for a total estimated value of over $1 million, in connection with the employment of illegal aliens of various nationalities in residences and restaurants they owned and rented, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Blake also sentenced Tzu Yang to five months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, five months of which is to be served in home detention with electronic monitoring; and sentenced Chang to three years probation, of which 10 months is to be served in home detention with electronic monitoring, for conspiracy to commit alien harboring and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. Judge Blake also ordered each man to perform 100 hours of community service. Jui Yang, age 50, was sentenced to two years probation for employment of illegal aliens and was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said, “This case demonstrates that we will prosecute employers who line their own pockets by systematically exploiting illegal aliens, keeping them in substandard living and working conditions and paying them under the table.”
“Companies that use cheap, illegal alien labor as a business practice should take note of today’s sentencing. ICE has dramatically enhanced its enforcement efforts against illegal employment schemes and is targeting the profits that motivate them” said James Dinkins, Acting Special Agent in Charge, for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in Baltimore.
“Money laundering is tax evasion in progress,” said Francis L. Turner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation.
According to their plea agreements, Tzu and Jui Yang operated: Kawasaki Restaurant located at 413 North Charles Street, Baltimore; Kawasaki at Johns Hopkins Hospital located at 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore; and together with Chang, the Kawasaki Café located at 907 South Ann Street, Baltimore.
Tzu Yang housed aliens and undocumented workers employed by Kawasaki Restaurant at 413 North Charles Street; Tzu Yang and Chang housed aliens and undocumented workers employed by Kawasaki Café at 514 South Chapel Street. From January 1997 to March 2006 Tzu Yang and Chang conspired to harbor between six and 24 aliens in residences and businesses they owned, knowing that these aliens had entered the United States in violation of law. The defendants required the aliens and undocumented workers to work more than 40 hours a week and paid them in cash amounts substantially less than required by law. The defendants did not pay employee benefits or make the required tax payments on behalf of their employees. As much as 75% of the workforce were illegal aliens. From January 1997 to March 2006, Jui Yang conspired with Tzu Yang and Chang to employ individuals at the three restaurants knowing that these individuals were aliens who had not been lawfully admitted into the United States and who had not been authorized for employment.
In January 2003, three bank accounts were established for the operating expenses of the three restaurants. From January 2003 through August 2005, monies from these operating bank accounts were deposited into various other bank accounts held by the defendants. The defendants used these monies to pay the mortgages on the 413 North Charles Street and 514 South Chapel Street properties which were owned by companies formed by the various defendants, and for “rent” on the 514 South Chapel Street property. Defendants also purchased the following vehicles using these monies: 2005 Mercedes C240 for $36,809; 2005 Audi A for $39,702; 2003 Lexus LS 430 for $57,648; 2002 Lexus RX 300 for $39,244; and two 2000 Chevrolet Astro vans. Additionally, monies from the Kawasaki Café operating account were used to purchase property located at 1535 Melton Road, Timonium, Maryland. Tzu Yang and Chang conspired to conduct financial transactions involving the proceeds of unlawful activities in connection with the employment of numerous aliens at the restaurants in order to promote the carrying on of the unlawful activities, and knowing that the transactions were designed to conceal the ownership of the proceeds of the unlawful activities.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven H. Levin and Gregory Welsh, who prosecuted the case.