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Press Release

Four Restaurant Owner/Managers In State College Area Sentenced And Property Forfeited In Illegal Alien Harboring Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

WILLIAMSPORT - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that four restaurant owner/managers in the State College area were sentenced on April 15, 2016 by United States District Court Judge Matthew W. Brann in Williamsport in a case involving conspiracy to transport, harbor and conceal illegal aliens.

Jing Mei Jiang, sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment and ordered to report to prison on May 16, 2016.  The other three defendants are Xin Xing Jiang; Yan Jin Jiang; and Yu Mei Chen.  All three were sentenced to two years’ probation.  All four defendants pleaded guilty in September 2015.  All are residents of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania.

Four other defendants previously pleaded guilty in August 2015 and were sentenced to two years’ probation:  Zue Jiang; Jian Bin Chen; Yong Cheng Chen; and Hua Zhen Dong.  All are resident of State College, Pennsylvania.

According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, charges were filed in July 2015 in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg against the eight restaurant owners and managers accusing them of conspiring to transport, harbor and conceal illegal aliens to work in their restaurants.  Jing Mei Jiang, identified as the leader of the conspiracy, was also charged with defrauding the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by underreporting the actual number of employees in audit and tax documents and by creating falsified financial records on his Employer’s Quarterly Report of Wages Paid to each employee.

Jing Mei Jiang and his co-conspirators engaged in recruiting unauthorized aliens to work in restaurants and transporting the aliens by commercial buses, vans and other vehicles to and from restaurants in the State College area, where they would work and be housed during their employment. 

The workforce consisted of Hispanic and Chinese aliens from Mexico, Guatemala, Thailand and China. The workers were recruited and employed by the defendants for commercial advantage and private financial gain. Unauthorized alien workers were hired to staff restaurant kitchen operations, thereby cutting costs and maximizing profits. As part of the conspiracy, the aliens were paid in cash, at a rate well below the minimum wage. State and/or federal taxes were not withheld from wages, unauthorized aliens were not required to present documents establishing identity and/or employment eligibility, housing and transportation was provided and costs were shared among the conspirators to maximize profits, and fraudulent documents relating to unemployment compensation were filed.

Judge Brann ordered the following assets forfeited, consisting of property or cash directly tied to the criminal activity:

210 Limerock Terrace, State College, PA

458 East College Avenue, Unit 211, State College, PA

458 East College Avenue, Unit 406, State College, PA

691 Westerly Parkway, State College, PA

$21,890 in cash seized from the China Dragon Restaurant, State College, PA

$43,108 in cash seized from 210 Limerock Terrace, State College, PA

The case is part of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General assisted by the State College Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys William A. Behe and Gordon Zubrod, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert LaBar of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case.


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Updated April 18, 2016