Restaurant owner fined over illegal worker

Asiana, an upscale steakhouse in the Village of Pewaukee, was ordered Friday in federal court to pay a $32,000 fine and placed on one year of probation for a conviction on one felony count of harboring an illegal alien for financial gain.

In a separate, related case, Asiana’s owner, Rong “Ricky” Shi, 33, was sentenced Friday to 17 days in jail and ordered to forfeit $9,750, the amount of his financial interest in a $195,000 Waukesha home where illegal immigrants who worked for the restaurant lived.

The 17-day sentence handed down by Judge Rudolph T. Randa was for time Shi, of the Town of Merton, already served while he was detained after his arrest.

In February as part of a plea deal in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee, Shi pleaded guilty to and was convicted of one count of hiring an unauthorized alien, a misdemeanor.

In exchange, four felony counts that Shi knowingly and unlawfully harbored illegal immigrants for financial gain, were dismissed.

Shi, a naturalized U.S. citizen from China, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on May 22, 2008.

The arrest came after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took four illegal immigrants from Mexico and China into custody April 28 after executing a search warrant at the residence on Melody Lane in Waukesha.

Residents in the neighborhood had repeatedly complained to authorities about problems at the house.

Randa ordered Asiana, 1198 George Towne Drive, not to hire any illegal immigrants. He said that Shi was “very loose” about paperwork he accepted from employees as proof that they could legally work in the United States.

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