A Rincon restaurant owner accused of employing and housing illegal aliens has pled guilty to those charges in a federal court.
Guo Hua Jiang was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William T. Moore Jr. to 21 months in prison. Jiang also will be required to serve three years of supervised release following the completion of his sentence, according to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Edmund A. Booth Jr.
Jiang entered a guilty plea on May 22 to charges of conspiracy to harbor and employ illegal aliens and agreed to forfeit $75,000 in lieu of forfeiting two residences where Jiang harbored the illegal aliens. Jiang was one of the operators of the Hong Kong Buffet.
Jiang’s co-defendant, Jian Chun Liu, also entered a guilty plea May 22 to authorizing unauthorized aliens. Liu has not been sentenced.
Booth said that Jiang and Liu each have outstanding orders of deportation. Booth also praised the joint efforts of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office.
Federal prosecutors returned a nine-page indictment against Jiang and Liu in December. According to the indictment, 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.
Prosecutors charged that 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 government had been seeking the forfeiture of the two homes and of two vehicles, a 2005 Toyota Sienna and a 2005 Acura MDX.
Federal agents, with the assistance of Effingham sheriff’s deputies, conducted their raid in late November.