Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

Meet DA Nancy E. O'Malley

$1.7 Million in Assets Seized after Restaurant Owners are Sentenced

$1.7 Million Dollars in Assets Seized After Owners of Restaurant Are Sentenced for Crimes Including Wage Theft, Tax and Insurance Fraud Charges

Oakland, CA— The District Attorney’s Office today announced that the two owners of the Malaysian-Chinese restaurants in Fremont, Mango Garden, San Jose Mango Jungle, and San Mateo, Mango Blaze were sentenced following a conviction of multiple fraud charges and $1.7 million dollars of assets were seized as restitution, fines and penalties. Fifty-six Bay Area restaurant workers will receive wage theft payments totaling $1,006,455.

In late 2018, Defendant Hai Jie Chen was convicted of felony violations of conspiring to commit wage theft, and tax and insurance fraud. Defendant Hak Chun Ng was convicted of a misdemeanor violation for the failure to pay minimum wage. This week, both defendants were sentenced and placed on probation, ordered to perform community service, required to pay the full $1,153,013 in criminal restitution to the victims, and to pay an additional $550,000 dollars in fines assessed by the Labor Commissioner’s office.

An investigation into the labor practices at the restaurants owned by the defendants revealed that the victims worked from 11 to 12 hours a day, six days a week, for as little as $2 dollars an hour. All of the workers were denied overtime, many of the workers had their tips stolen by management, and some workers were denied medical treatment. The workers lived in owner supplied housing and were bussed to and from work. An inspection of the housing units showed that as many as 15 workers would be living in a two bedroom apartment that was sparsely furnished with mattresses on the ground.

“Every commercial enterprise operating in Alameda County must adhere to the laws designed to protect the rights of workers,” states DA O’Malley. “My Office will investigate and prosecute violations of these laws in order to ensure that every employee receives proper and legal compensation, is not forced to work in an unsafe environment, and is not made to work hours in excess of what the law allows.”

“We are here to protect the rights of workers, and will bring to justice any employer who engages in exploitation of his or her employees.”

The Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus (AAAJ-ALC) originally referred this case to local authorities and represented several workers who cooperated in the investigation. The referral led to a joint investigation conducted by the Worker Protection Division of the Alameda County District Attorney’s office, the California Department of Industrial Relations, the California Department of Insurance, the California Employment and Development Department and the State Franchise Tax Board. The investigation established that the owners operated Malaysian-Chinese restaurants in Fremont (Mango Garden), San Jose (Mango Jungle) and San Mateo (Mango Blaze).

The District Attorney’s office prosecuted the owners for the theft of $1,006,455 in wages, $113,326.7 in employment tax fraud, $86,694 dollars in insurance premium fraud, and $59,864 dollars in sale tax fraud. The prosecution was assisted by members of the California Department of Insurance, the Employment and Development Department, the Labor Commissioner’s Office and the Franchise Tax Board. Multiple assets were seized including bank accounts, business locations and personal residences.

As part of the resolution of the case assets are being liquidated to pay for criminal restitution, and civil fines and penalties. 56 Bay Area restaurant workers will receive wage theft payments totaling $1,006,455. Full restitution has also been paid for the insurance and tax charges. In a separate, but related matter the Labor Commissioner’s Office issued wage and civil penalty citations totaling more than $1.8 million. A portion of the assets will be used to pay those penalties.

The District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Unit, The Alexander Community Law Center, Community Solutions, Step Forward, the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking, Centro Legal De La Raza, Ruby's Place, API Legal Outreach, International Rescue Committee and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus all provided services to the numerous victims.

Any individual who feels she or he is the victim of labor trafficking or labor exploitation in Alameda County is encouraged to call the District Attorney’s Worker Protection Division at (510) 383-8600.

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Media Contact: ADA Teresa Drenick // Teresa.Drenick@acgov.org // (510) 272-6280

Posted on Jan 10, 2019