News

F.C. Club Owner, Managers Plead Guilty in Illegal Alien Harboring Conspiracy

The owner and two managers of a club in Falls Church pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens for commercial advantage and private financial gain.

The owner and two managers of a club in Falls Church pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens for commercial advantage and private financial gain.

The club’s owner, Sang Bun Surh, 52, of Annandale, said that since December 2007, at least 25 illegal aliens have worked at the club and were harbored. The defendants said they were harbored in apartments in Annandale. The defendants admitted in plea agreements that they had hired female Korean illegal aliens as waitresses and hostesses at the club. They also admitted to booking flights for the women, or having co-conspirators book the flights.

The club, known as High Society, Tomato and Tomato Garden at 1245 West Broad Street in Falls Church, is considered a room salon, as it contains private rooms where customers can buy bottles of liquor served to them by provocatively dressed women who drink, flirt, sing and dance with customers.

The club brought in a gross of around $4 million since December 2007, according to the defendants. A bottle of liquor at the club typically costs $300, and customers were required to purchase at least one bottle.

The two managers who pleaded guilty, Young Mi Kim, 41, and Hyeon Chul Kim, 55, are citizens of the Republic of Korea. Young Mi Kim is a conditional resident of the United States who lived with Surh. She also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud based on her own fraudulent marriage to a United States citizen. Hyeon Chul Kim is unlawfully present in the United States. Sang Bun Surh is a citizen of Republic of Korea and a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

“This office is committed to the vigorous enforcement of our immigration laws, which are vital to our national security and well-being,” said United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride in a statement. “We bring these cases to hold employers accountable and ensure that they abide by laws designed to protect both foreign and domestic workers and the citizens of the United States.”

“Those profiting from the employment and harboring of illegal aliens will be aggressively pursued by ICE,” said Special Agent in Charge for ICE, Office of Homeland Security Investigations John P. Torres in a statement. “Companies whose business models incorporate the use of illegal alien workers will be held accountable.”

The three defendants face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. They will be sentenced on Feb. 25, 2011. The defendants have also agreed to cooperate with authorities in the continuing investigation.