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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 6, 2015

Two Twin Cities' Restauranteurs Sentenced For Hiring Undocumented Workers

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the sentencing of MING GUO, 46, owner of two Twin Cities restaurants, both named Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet, and BIJIAN WENG, a/k/a “Wilson,” 28, manager of the restaurants, to federal prison sentences for employing unlawful aliens. GUO and WENG were charged on January 26, 2015, with one count each of Knowingly Hiring Ten or More Unlawful Aliens. GUO and WENG pleaded guilty on March 20, 2015, and were sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Donovan W. Frank in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn.

“Hiring illegal aliens is not a victimless crime. It gives an unfair advantage to a business, forces competitors out of business, and results in lost tax revenue for the community,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge, William Lowder of HSI St. Paul. “Harboring illegal aliens is a very real crime with very real victims. HSI will remain vigilant in protecting American businesses and keeping the playing field level. ”

“These defendants created a successful restaurant business on the backs of undocumented workers,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie E. Allyn. “They forced the victims to work 12-hour shifts, six days per week, by housing them and isolating them without the means and access to build a life. Guo and Weng did not simply hire illegal aliens – they took sustained steps to harbor and transport these workers in violation of U.S. law.”

According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, from September 30, 2013 through September 30, 2014, GUO and WENG knowingly hired and employed at least 17 individuals who were not authorized to be employed or lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States. On September 30, 2014, HSI agents executed search warrants at the restaurants in Spring Lake Park and West St. Paul, Minnesota. They identified 17 undocumented workers working in the restaurants.

According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, GUO and WENG were aware that the employees were not authorized to work in the United States. Moreover, the defendants did not ask the employees to fill out paperwork, including I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms. GUO and WENG also failed to report the unauthorized workers to the Minnesota Department of Economic Development. The employees were paid in cash “off the books.”

According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, in addition to hiring illegal aliens, GUO and WENG took additional sustained steps to harbor and transport the victims. The defendants housed the victims and transported them to and from work each day. With no cars and limited family (if any) nearby, these employees were left with no choice but working at the restaurants. This allowed the defendants to profit by exploiting and using the employees to work endless hours six days each week.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie E. Allyn and Laura M. Provinzino are prosecuting this case.

 

Defendant Information:

BIJIAN WENG, a/k/a “Wilson,” 28

Spring Lake Park, Minn.

Convicted:

  • Knowingly Hiring Ten or More Unlawful Aliens, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • Six months in prison
  • Six months location monitoring
  • Two years supervised release
  • 100 hours of community service
  • $304,827.75 money judgment and criminal fine

MING GUO, 46

North Miami Beach, Fla.

Convicted:

  • Knowingly Hiring Ten or More Unlawful Aliens, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • Five months in prison
  • Seven months location monitoring
  • Two years supervised release
  • 50 hours of community service
  • $304,827.75 money judgment and criminal fine

 

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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

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Updated August 6, 2015