3 East Texans among 32 charged for recruiting illegal immigrants - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

3 East Texans among 32 charged for recruiting illegal immigrants to work in restaurants

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HOUSTON, TX (KLTV) - One person from Mineola and two from Nacogdoches are among 32 Texans named in an indictment alleging they were part of a conspiracy ring which employed illegal immigrants in the Chinese restaurant industry.

According to court documents, two employment referral businesses operating out of Houston recruited unauthorized immigrants, mostly from Mexico and Central America, for work in the restaurant industry. Those workers routinely worked 12 hours a day, six days a week, were not paid overtime, did not receive tips and were paid in cash by the restaurants, according to the indictment.

The restaurants profited by avoiding paying employment taxes and by not providing employee benefits. They were paid far less than minimum wage, according to the indictment.

The indictment states the workers had unfavorable living arrangements. They were overcrowded and and sometimes consisted of air mattresses or floors for sleeping.

Among those charged are Zeng Yu Huang, 50, of Mineola and Selena Ling Feng, 37, and Zongxian Zhu, 41, both of Nacogdoches.

Brian M. Moskowitz, a special agent of Homeland Security Investigations in Houston says two agencies acted as a "take-out and delivery service" for restaurants across the region, but did not deliver food. Instead, they delivered people illegally to work in those restaurants, Moskowitz said.

"People they called 'amigos,' who were in this country illegally, with no authorization to work. They sought them out, harbored them, and delivered them to greedy restaurant owners and managers looking for cheap labor," said Moskowitz. "The illicit efforts of the defendants and others like them help push those unlawfully here deeper into the shadows, and the jobs they market serve as a magnet for future illegal immigration."

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