General · March 30, 2021

Owners Plead Guilty To Harboring Undocumented Workers

Restaurant Owners Plead Guilty To Harboring Undocumented Workers

Jacksonville, FL (STL.News) Ji Lin Qiu (44) and Gui Zhen Yang (37), both of Palm Coast, have pleaded guilty to offenses related to their employment of undocumented aliens at their restaurants.  Qiu has pleaded guilty to harboring undocumented aliens for commercial advantage and private financial gain and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.  Yang has pleaded guilty to establishing a commercial enterprise for the purpose of evading United States Immigration laws and she faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison.  As part of his plea agreement, Qiu agreed to forfeit a residence in Palm Coast, a 2013 Toyota Sienna van, a 2019 Honda Odyssey van, and a 2020 Honda Odyssey van.  A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

Qiu and Yang had been indicted on September 14, 2020.

According to court documents, Qiu and Yang, a married couple, owned and operated the Red Bowl restaurant on Bartram Park Boulevard in Jacksonville, the Red Bowl Poké & Hibachi restaurant on Crosshill Boulevard in Jacksonville, and the Fancy Sushi & Grill restaurant on East Highway 100 in Palm Coast.  At the restaurants, they employed aliens who were unlawfully present in the United States and who were not legally authorized to work in the United States.  Contrary to federal law, they did not require the workers to provide documents to establish that they could legally work in the United States.

Qiu and Yang also owned or rented three residences, each of which was near one of the restaurants.  At the residences, they provided rent-free housing to the undocumented workers.  They also provided the workers with transportation between the houses and the restaurants.  Qiu and Yang paid the workers in cash, did not withhold taxes and other payments from the workers’ wages, and did not pay the employer’s portion of these taxes to government authorities. They also did not report the workers to state revenue authorities as required under Florida law to ensure the collection of the proper amount of unemployment compensation tax.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arnold B. Corsmeier.