The guilt of the business owner in hiring undocumented workers

The guilt of the business owner in hiring undocumented workers

A restaurant owner in Evansville will spend two years on probation after pleading guilty to illegally employing unregistered workers. The US Department of Justice says Kent Dam, 55, of Evansville, will have to pay $15,000 plus probation time.

Court documents say in June 2020, Homeland Security investigators were looking into Dam and his restaurant, Gracie's Chinese Cuisine. The investigation was launched as part of an ongoing multi-state investigation into the smuggling, transportation, harboring, and employment of undocumented workers.

The agents were told that a human smuggler was driving undocumented workers from a different state to Evansville, where they were dropped off at a house on West Wartman Road in Evansville. Then Dam and his wife paid the smuggler for his services.

The Dam was caught on security cameras driving from his home to the house on West Wartman Road, picking up several workers, and bringing them home at the end of the day.

On October 21, 2020, the Dam was evacuated due to a traffic violation with five workers in his car. According to the Department of Justice, the five people were not "lawfully present in the United States."

All the occupants worked in the restaurant's kitchen and lived in the West Wortman Roadhouse. They told the officers that they were getting paid monthly from DAM through checks or envelopes of cash.

Workers told investigators that Dam did not require them to complete legal citizenship and tax employment forms. Two of the workers said a smuggler brought them to the restaurant.

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