Ringleader in undocumented workers case has assets forfeited

The acknowledged ringleader of an organization that provided undocumented workers for six Chinese restaurants in the State College area is now out three properties and nearly $63,000 in cash.

U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew W. Brann on Friday signed the order that forfeits assets of Jing Mei Jiang, who recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal aliens and wire fraud.

He is to self-report to prison on May 16 to begin serving a 15-month prison sentence that will be followed by two years’ supervised release. He also was fined $50,000.

The State College properties Jiang agreed to forfeit as part of his plea agreement are 210 Limerock Terrace and two units at 458 E. College Ave..

In addition, the government will keep $43,108 in currency seized June 12, 2014, from the Limerock Terrace address and $19,690 confiscated the same day from the China Dragon restaurant.

Jiang, 52, was one of eight charged in the scheme that involved using undocumented workers in the kitchens of restaurants, paying them less than minimum wage and not withholding taxes.

Jiang owned or co-owned the following restaurants: China Dragon, Fuji and Jade Garden, 100 Degree Hot Pot, My Thai Restaurant, C&J Hunan Wok and Penang Inc.

The scheme involved recruiting Asians and Hispanics from Mexico, Guatemala, Thailand and China to work in kitchens through an employment agency in New York’s Chinatown.

A Chinatown accounting firm prepared false unemployment compensation documents that were wired to state offices in Harrisburg.