Tennessee Restaurant Owner Sentenced to Federal Prison for Alien Harboring and Tax Fraud Conspiracy


A Clarksville restaurant owner on Tuesday was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison on a host of charges: conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, harboring illegal aliens, money laundering, tax evasion, and employment tax fraud.

Quanwei Shi, who owns the New China Buffet and Grill (NCBG), was arrested in April 2020 and indicted on 14 charges, stemming from an investigation into the restaurant.

According to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the owner took in undocumented workers and allowed them to work at the NCBG in a scheme that stretched from 2017 to 2019:

“Shi conspired to conceal and harbor illegal aliens from China and Guatemala, profiting from their employment at NCBG. The undocumented workers were not required to complete any forms related to their immigration status and were paid in cash, outside the regular payroll system. The undocumented workers lived with Shi at his residence on D Street in Clarksville and were transported to NCBG and back daily. Shi assigned the workers to work in the kitchen where they would not be able to interact with the patrons of the restaurant,” the release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Middle District of Tennessee said.

Furthermore, Shi actively worked to bypass federal tax laws and underreported gross receipts on the restaurant’s corporate tax returns for multiple years. He also did not pay unemployment taxes, totaling more than $400,000.

In addition to Shi’s prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Eli J. Richardson ordered the owner to forfeit his house and two vehicles, while also paying $417,149 in restitution.

Chongqiang Chen, a co-owner of NCBG who was arrested at the same time, has also pleaded guilty to multiple counts. He will be sentenced in early 2022.

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Flaming Wok” by Kelly B. CC BY 2.0.






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4 Thoughts to “Tennessee Restaurant Owner Sentenced to Federal Prison for Alien Harboring and Tax Fraud Conspiracy”

  1. Robert E Roark

    Given the way the southern border is wide open, how can anyone coming through there be called illegal? They are invited and paid for coming. The fact that they have to submit to slave conditions is just one of the results of the way immigration is handled today by our government. I can see the employment tax charges but the other charges are the unintended consequences of US policy.

  2. John

    20 months! That’s it?

    Sounds like a lot more was going on here, like Indentured servitude and/or human trafficking.

    I used to work for another company, for over a decade, located near one of the major Chinese food distributors located in Berry Hill. In all my years there, I never saw a shift change. Never any workers coming and going.

    Usually what happens is that migrants are looking to immigrate to America but don’t have enough money. Once they get here, they find out that they have rather large debt to payoff. So they end up becoming slaves to these traffickers.

    This kind of crap makes me sick to my stomach.

  3. Kevin

    OK so I can visualize people walking across our southern borders from contiguous countries, but how exactly do people walk from China to the USA? This illegal alien issue has become more than just a story in the news, it’s a national security issue! China is a country whose leaders openly talk about “replacing America”, and dominating the world!

    When is our government(s) going to start protecting us from this invasion? At what point do We the People act “to alter or to abolish it and to institute new government”? The very existence of the USA is at stake here, and any politician who spews rhetoric about providing political or economic asylum is a traitor and needs to be handled accordingly!

  4. Horatio Bunce

    Now do the Department of Defense and American Airlines and house at Tennessee Temple.