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Olathe restaurant owners charged with harboring undocumented workers

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(Jonathan Carter/KCTV) (Jonathan Carter/KCTV)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

The owners of Wei's Super Buffet restaurant in Olathe have been charged with harboring undocumented workers who were in the United States unlawfully, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Wednesday.

A federal criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, KS., alleges the owners and managers of the restaurant violated federal law by knowingly employing, transporting and housing undocumented workers.

The following defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy to transport undocumented workers; conceal, harbor and shield undocumented workers; and encourage or induce undocumented workers to unlawfully enter or remain in the United States.

Those charged include 40-year-old Wei Liu, 35-year-old Xiang Liu, 47-year-old Jin Hui Liu, 44-year-old Huiqing Liu, 39-year-old Bin Liu, all of Olathe, KS. Also charged was 25-year-old Quan Liu of Kansas City, MO. 

All people are from Olathe, KS, and their connection to the restaurants range from owning and managing them to being a relative of the owner.

Wei's Super Buffet is located at 12225 Strang Line Road in Olathe and 7531 Wornall Road in Kansas City, MO.

An investigator's affidavit filed in support of the complaint alleges that beginning in February 2011 agents of Homeland Security Investigations began surveillance on the owners, managers and employees at Wei's Super Buffet. They checked Quarterly Wage Report and Unemployment Tax Returns submitted by the restaurant to the Kansas Department of Labor and they identified employees who were illegally present in the United States. They also identified apartments rented by the defendants where undocumented workers were living.

On Nov. 5, investigators served search and seizure warrants. During a search of Wei and Xiang Liu's residence, where Biu Liu also resided, they found boxes of records associated with the daily operations of the restaurant and ledgers identifying the restaurant's revenue. During the search of Jin Hui and Huiqing Liu's residence, they found six undocumented workers residing in the basement, all of whom worked at the restaurant. During the search of an apartment leased by Quan Liu near the restaurant in Kansas City, MO, they found six undocumented workers living there.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

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