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Press Release

Couple who operated Akron restaurant sentenced to prison for harboring and hiring undocumented workers, not paying taxes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

Two people who operated an Akron restaurant were sentenced to prison for harboring and hiring undocumented workers, law enforcement officials said.

Zhou Qiang Zou, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, to be followed by deportation. Xin Hsu was sentenced to nine months incarceration followed by nine months of house arrest. They are married and live in Akron. Both are 35 years old.

They were among the operators of the Royal Buffet and Grill restaurant in the Chapel Hill area of Akron. Hsu, Zou and others conspired to harbor and harbored at least 10 undocumented workers for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain. The conspiracy included employing the undocumented workers at the Royal Buffet and Grill, where they worked for below minimum wage or only for tips, according to court documents.

Hsu, Zou and others also failed to report and pay taxes on cash receipts for nearly a decade, resulting in a tax loss of at least $1.5 million.

The defendants also housed the undocumented workers at one of their residences on Annapolis Avenue in Akron and transported them to and from the Royal Buffet and Grill as part of the conspiracy. Hsu, Zou and others housed as many as 14 undocumented workers at one time inside a single-family house, according to court documents.

“These defendants violated immigration and tax laws, taking advantage of their workers and the taxpayers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja.

“Employers have a legal responsibility to hire and maintain an authorized workforce. Those who circumvent our immigration system will be held accountable,” said Steve Francis, Acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI’s Detroit office.

“Individuals who corruptly violate the law to further their business interests and intentionally evade paying their fair share of taxes undermine public confidence in our tax system and unfairly disadvantage businesses that play by the rules,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “As these defendants have discovered, operating outside the law and failing to pay taxes have severe consequences."

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Teresa Riley and Robert J. Patton following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations.


Mike Tobin

Updated August 2, 2017

Human Smuggling