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Restaurant owner jailed after 5 illegal immigrants died in his basement during house fire

By Emily Lewis 8:16 AM January 8, 2018
Roger Tam and his wife Ada Lei

Two people who owned a restaurant in Michigan were arrested after their workers died in their home.

The 5 young men from Mexico who came to this country illegally died in a house fire on Mystic Forest Drive in Novi, Detroit.

All of the victims, who were between the ages of 16 and 23, lived in the basement of the home while they worked at Kim’s Garden, a restaurant owned by Roger Tam and his wife Ada Lei.

A fire broke out at the couple’s home and the 5 men failed to escape from the basement.

The fire was related to neglected smoking. The autopsies showed that three of the men had been drinking a lot.

The owners were arrested and faced 10 years in prison for the death of their employees.

Prosecutors said that the restaurant owners hired the illegal migrants who had no paperwork and worked under the table for cash.

Tam drove the men to and from work every day and he profited by these illegal aliens.

Judge Marianne Battani said that she would not hold the business owners responsible for the deaths of their workers at their home.

However, Tam and Lei pleaded guilty to harboring illegal aliens and profiting from their work.

Tam was sentenced to nine months in prison.

Lei did not receive a prison sentence. She reportedly blamed herself for the incident and attempted suicide after the fire.

The judge concluded that prison would do more harm than good for her.

The couple will also have to pay restitution for the earnings they failed to disclose.