WICHITA, KAN. – A Wichita restaurant owner and his wife were sentenced Monday for harboring a Chinese girl who worked at their restaurant, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.
The owner, Yong “Tony” Lin, 33, Wichita, Kan., was sentenced to two years supervised release. He pleaded guilty to harboring an alien unlawfully in the United States. His wife, Zhuo Mei “Mandy” Weng, 29, Wichita, Kan., was sentenced to one year on probation. She pleaded guilty to hiding the crime. Both charges are federal felonies.
As part of their guilty pleas, the couple agreed to forfeit about $8,000 in cash seized by Homeland Security agents investigating the case. The money will go to employees who are owed back wages.
In September 2013, the Exploited and Missing Child Unit (EMCU) received a report that a minor teenager from China was being housed with other restaurant workers at a west Wichita apartment complex and that she also was employed at the World Buffet Grill, 2243 N. Ridge Road. With the assistance of the Wichita Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations, EMCU confirmed the reports and was able to place the minor elsewhere.
An indictment was filed in the case Sept. 11 alleging that Lin and Weng harbored and employed at least three restaurant employees they knew were unlawfully in the United States. They often paid the employees in cash, failed to follow wage and hour guidelines, and failed to maintain I-9 employment eligibility verification forms, according to the indictment.
Grissom commended the EMCU, the Wichita Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson for their work on the case.