Six people in Summit and Stark counties have been indicted for their alleged roles in a conspiracy to hire undocumented workers at a chain of restaurants and pay them less than minimum wage.
The defendants have owned or managed the seven "Mariachi Locos" and "Mariachi Cocos" restaurants in Akron, Stow, Tallmadge and North Canton since 2002.
The defendants face charges including conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens, aiding and abetting the harboring of undocumented aliens, harboring undocumented aliens, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud.
"The owners and managers of these restaurants took advantage of their workers' immigration status for their own profit," said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District.
"Employers have a legal responsibility to protect the integrity of their workforce," said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations in Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio.
Prosecutors allege those indicted hired workers who were in the U.S. illegally and conspired to shield workers from detection by paying them in cash, excluding them from payrolls and aiding the workers in obtaining fraudulent work documentation, according to the indictment.
The indictment alleges the six paid the undocumented workers less than minimum wage, no overtime and in some cases, paid them only what they earned from customers in tips.
Prosecutors are also seeking to forfeit more than $16 million generated by the restaurants.