Rochester man pleads guilty to harboring illegal aliens for commercial gain
ROCHESTER, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Zhou Wang Ni, 48, of Rochester, N.Y., pleaded guilty to harboring an illegal alien for commercial gain before U.S. District Court Judge David G. Larimer. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant is the manager of the Grand Super Buffet Chinese Restaurant located on Jefferson Road in Henrietta, N.Y. As manager, Ni hired several illegal aliens to work in the restaurant who he knew were not lawfully present in the United States. The defendant housed these workers in properties he owned around Rochester and paid them in cash. While conducting surveillance, federal agents observed Ni driving these individuals to work at the restaurant on several occasions.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted an immigration audit of the restaurant during the course of the investigation during which the defendant concealed the fact that those illegal aliens were working. However, agents had video footage of those same workers being picked up by the defendant in the morning, being driven to the restaurant, and then working inside during the day.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.Sentencing is scheduled for May 12, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Larimer.