POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - It was one of the biggest illegal immigration cases ever in Butler County. On Monday, the former manager of the China Buffet/Mongolian Grill in Poplar Bluff, Christine Huang, was sentenced on eight felony counts connected to the illegal immigration ring.
On Monday, United States District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. Announced her sentence in a Cape Girardeau federal court.
Huang will spend on year in federal prison for harboring, transporting, and employing illegal aliens.
The investigation began back in February 2009. Investigators from both the Poplar Bluff Police department and officers for the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) found Huang employed a number of illegal aliens from Mexico and China to provide a cheap source of labor.
In August of 2010 immigration agents arrested eleven alleged illegal aliens at the Mongolian Grill.
The government says the employees typically worked 12 hour shifts, six days a week, and were paid less than minimum wage. Waiters and waitresses were typically paid in tips only.
Prosecutors say Huang also did not withhold state and federal taxes. They also say Huang tried to bring Chinese citizens to the United States through a contract with her uncle.
According to the contract, Huang paid her uncle $140,000 to travel to China to marry a woman for the sole purpose of bringing the woman and her two kids back to the United States. This plan failed as the visas for his wife and kids were denied.
Along with her one year prison term, Huang will serve two years supervised probation and six months of house arrest.