Chinese buffet owner sent to prison for taxes

HANAHAN, S.C. (WCIV) -- A Hanahan man was sentenced in federal court Monday for failing to pay employment taxes and harboring illegal aliens.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, 35-year-old Ji Duan Fang was sentenced to 12 months in prison followed by six months in a community center and three years of supervision.

Prosecutors show that Fang operated the Jade China Buffet in North Charleston and hired at least 14 illegal aliens to work at the restaurant. Between 2008 and 2011, Fang paid the illegal workers in cash and did not pay or collect employment taxes.

Fang also transported the illegal workers to and from the restaurant, U.S. Attorneys said. In all, Fang did not pay more than $200,000 in taxes.

"Employees have a right to expect their withheld employment taxes, which fund future benefits, will be paid by their employer, " said Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Field Office. "IRS-Criminal Investigation takes this type of offense seriously and will continue its efforts to protect employees by rooting out employers who violate the tax laws."

The case was investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security.{} Assistant U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.