Wichita restaurant owner pleads guilty to employing illegal immigrant

02/12/2014 5:35 PM

02/12/2014 5:36 PM

A northwest Wichita restaurant owner pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal felony of employing an illegal immigrant.

Yong “Tony” Lin, 33, pleaded guilty to harboring a teenager from China unlawfully in the United States, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office. His wife, Zhuo Mei “Mandy” Weng, 29, pleaded guilty to hiding the crime.

Harboring means to do anything to encourage or help an illegal immigrant to stay in the United States, Grissom’s spokesman said. The couple agreed to forfeit about $8,000 in cash seized by Homeland Security agents, the release said.

The teenager was under 18 at the time the time charges were filed in September, the spokesman said. She was employed at Lin’s World Buffet Grill, 2242 N. Ridge Road.

The girl and two other restaurant workers who Lin and Weng knew were in this country illegally were housed at an apartment complex, the release said. They often paid the employees in cash and didn’t follow laws on minimum wage and hours worked.

Lin and Weng also didn’t keep required records that verified employment eligibility, the indictment said.

They are set for sentencing on May 7. The teenage girl has been placed elsewhere by local and federal authorities, according to the release.

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