A former restaurateur in North Charleston was sentenced to prison today for employing illegal immigrants and tax evasion.

Ji Duan Fang, 35, of Hanahan pleaded guilty to failure to pay employment taxes and harboring illegal aliens.

A federal judge in downtown Charleston sentenced him to a year in federal prison, another six months in a community corrections center and three years on probation.

Federal investigators said Fang hired at least 14 illegal immigrants at Jade China Buffet at 7800 Rivers Ave. in North Charleston. He paid them cash and did not collect or pay $212,225 in employment taxes from 2008 to 2011.

Fang also housed and transported workers to his restaurant, the authorities said.

Officials from the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office pointed at people like Fang as the reasons for the erosion of employees’ future benefits and for government budget deficits.

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