Richmond based corporation to forfeit $1.2 million for harboring illegal aliens
RICHMOND, Va. – Bao Ping Wang, 44, and Trang “Tammy” Lu, 45, of Glen Allen, Va., pled guilty today in U.S. District Court to a criminal information charging Wang with harboring illegal aliens and Lu with misprision of a felony. Hi-Tech Trucking, Inc., a commercial trucking entity established by Wang and Lu for the delivery operations of SeaLands Food, another business operated by Wang and Lu for the distribution of seafood to Asian restaurants and markets throughout the mid-Atlantic region, pled guilty to conspiring to harbor illegal aliens.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge for ICE, Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington, D.C.; Rebecca A. Sparkman, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s Washington, D.C., Field Office; and Col. H.W. Stanley Jr., Chief of Police for the Henrico County Division of Police, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Sentencing has been scheduled for December 8, 2010.
“Executives at Hi-Tech Trucking admitted they harbored dozens of illegal aliens as a regular part of their business,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “We are committed to holding accountable employers who profit from illegal labor and have an unfair advantage over businesses that operate within the law.”
“Business owners who seek to gain a competitive advantage and profit from illegal labor will be held accountable for their actions as demonstrated by today’s pleas,” said ICE HSI SAC Torres. “ICE will continue to use all available criminal and civil tools at its disposal as well as partnerships with other federal, state and local agencies to deter employers who knowingly hire illegal labor.”
“Taking away the assets from these illegal organizations hits criminals where it hurts the most – it deprives them of their profits,” said IRS SAC Sparkman.
In the plea agreements, Hi-Tech Trucking, Inc. agreed to forfeit $1,225,428 in illegal proceeds gained as a result of the offense and to pay a $100,000 fine. Bao Ping Wang agreed to deportation from the United States after service of his sentence and faces a maximum of five years in prison. Trang “Tammy” Lu faces a maximum of three years in prison.
According to court documents, Wang and Lu both managed Hi-Tech Trucking, Inc., and SeaLands Food on a daily basis. From between 2006 through 2009, Wang employed a workforce at these companies consisting of both legal and illegal aliens, with Lu’s knowledge or reckless disregard of the fact that a number of their employees were illegally present in the country and illegally working without proper authorization. Federal investigators determined that Wang harbored and employed between 6 to 24 illegal aliens at these companies at any point in time from 2006 through 2009, with Lu’s knowledge. Wang and Lu provided housing and meals for the illegal alien employees at three residences that they owned in Richmond, Virginia. Bank records for Hi-Tech Trucking, Inc. accounts from 2006 through 2009 establish that withdrawals from these accounts were used for payments for rental properties for employees and utilities for the three residential properties at which employees were housed, as well as payments to employees, including illegal aliens.
This case was investigated by agents of ICE HSI in Washington, D.C., the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, and the Henrico Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth C. Wu prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.