Jan 30, 2014 6:14 PM by Ian Auzenne
Two Abbeville residents are among 32 Texas and Louisiana residents recently indicted in an employment referral conspiracy involving Chinese restaurants.
Houng Chen, 39, and Jin Zhu Fang, 38, were arrested this morning in connection with the case.
Federal officials say the indicted parties hired employees from a Houston referral company that recruited illegal aliens to work at Chinese restaurants.
Those business owners allegedly worked their employees six days per week for 12 hours a day. The employees allegedly were paid less than minimum wage and were not paid overtime or provided benefits. The business owners are also accused of not allowing their employees to accept tips.
Federal officials also say the business owners housed their employees in squalid conditions and overcrowded conditions. The employees also allegedly did not receive any health examinations, food safety training, or job training before or during their employment.
If convicted, the defendants face a total of 30 years in prison.