Clarksville restaurant owner charged with harboring undocumented workers, more than $440k in tax fraud

Tennessee

New China Buffet and Grill (Source: Google StreetView)

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – An owner of a Clarksville Chinese restaurant has pleaded guilty after being charged with a 14-count indictment in April 2020.

U.S. Attorney Mark Wildasin announced majority owner of the New China Buffet & Grill, 31-year-old Quanwei Shi, was sentenced Friday to 20 months in federal prison for harboring illegal aliens, money laundering, tax evasion, and employment tax fraud. 

Court documents show that Shi concealed and harbored undocumented workers from China and Guatemala at the Clarksville restaurant between 2017 and 2019. 

Undocumented workers were paid in cash and lived with Shi at his Clarksville residence where Shi drove them back and forth to the restaurant daily. 

New China Buffett & Grill’s tax returns were also underreported and Shi failed to collect and pay employment taxes amounting to an overall tax loss of $440,941. 

U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson ordered the forfeiture of Shi’s Clarksville home, two vehicles, and assigned a restitution fee in the amount of $417,149. 

New China Buffett & Grill’s co-owner, 30-year-old Chongqiang Chen also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on February 25, 2022. 

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