Howard County Restaurant Owner Charged with Hiring and Harboring Illegal Aliens

February 17, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - A criminal complaint has been filed charging Yen Wan Cheng, age 54, of Columbia, Maryland, with employing, transporting and harboring illegal aliens in her Hanover, Maryland restaurant. Cheng was arrested yesterday and had her initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

The charges were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Companies who knowingly hire illegal aliens are not only breaking the law, they are also creating a magnet that draws foreign nationals to enter the United States illegally,” stated William Winter, Special Agent in Charge for ICE in Baltimore. "ICE is committed to investigating employers who engage in illegal employment schemes that utilize illegal labor to make an unlawful profit.”

The criminal complaint alleges that, between January 2009 and February 4, 2010, Cheng knowingly hired aliens who were not authorized to work in the United States, transported the aliens to their jobs, and harbored them in residences she provided.. According to the criminal complaint, five aliens were specifically identified during the investigation as working at the restaurant and residing in a home Cheng owns in Columbia.

Cheng faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison for employing illegal aliens and five years in prison each for transporting illegal aliens, harboring aliens and harboring aliens for financial gain.

A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Michael Cunningham, who is prosecuting the case.



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