Federal prosecutors are seeking more than $153,000 from the owners of four Chinese restaurants in Maine that were raided last year in an investigation over alleged money laundry and illegal immigration. In a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court, the U.S. Attorney's Office asked a judge to order the Zhang family to forfeit the money, which was seized from Maine bank accounts last year, the Bangor Daily News reported.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Zhang family illegally earned the $153,000 through transporting and harboring illegal aliens, money laundering and other activities. The Zhang operation -- which owns 11 restaurants in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire – allegedly hired undocumented workers, paid them under the table and housed them in squalid conditions. The operation also allegedly falsified business and income documents, concealing and stealing a total of $2.9 million over a 10-month period. No one in the family has been charged.
Police and agents from U.S. Immigrations, Customs and Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection last November raided the Twin Super Buffet in Brewer, Super China Buffet in Waterville, New China Buffet in Lewiston and Kon Asian Bistro in Portland. In Brewer, agents also raided a house authorities believe was used to harbor illegal Asian and Hispanic immigrants.