Guo Hua Jiang and Jian Chun Liu have been indicted by a federal grand jury for:
• Conspiracy to harbor and employ illegal aliens
• Harboring illegal aliens at their residences and restaurant
• Employing unauthorized aliens at their restaurant, the Hong Kong Buffet in Rincon
• Maximum penalties are 25 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.
A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against the owners of a Rincon restaurant with three counts of harboring and employing illegal aliens.
In a nine-page indictment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Guo Hua Jiang and Jian Chun Liu conspired to harbor and employ illegal aliens, kept illegal aliens at residences they owned and employed unauthorized aliens at their restaurant, Hong Kong Buffet. Jiang, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, also has an outstanding deportation order issued in 1997. Liu also has an outstanding deportation order, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.
Federal prosecutors charge that Jiang and Liu knew the aliens they had hired were not authorized to work in the U.S.
Federal authorities stipulated seven different dates, from Feb. 25-Oct. 17, where Jiang and Liu had at least one unauthorized alien working at the Hong Kong Buffet. They also allege that Jiang and Liu had no fewer than eight illegal aliens living in a Roberts Way home and had no fewer than eight illegal aliens living in a Whitehall Avenue home.
According to the indictment, Jiang and Liu would take the illegal aliens living in their residences to work at the Hong Kong Buffet each morning around 10:15. Jiang and Liu also under-reported the number of employees in their employer’s quarterly tax and wage reports sent to the state Department of Labor from February-June 2008.
The U.S. government is seeking the forfeiture of the two homes and of two vehicles, a 2005 Toyota Sienna and a 2005 Acura MDX.
Edmund A. Booth Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 25 years imprisonment and a fine of $750,000 if convicted. An initial appearance has not yet been scheduled.
Booth emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Booth praised the joint efforts of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office that led to the indictment.
Deputies assisted in executing the search warrants at the two residences and at the restaurant.