A woman who ran a restaurant in Vinton has admitted she intentionally employed illegal immigrants. Two years ago agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided the Peony Family Restaurants in Vinton and Toledo, taking illegal immigrants who were working the lunch hour shift into custody.

Last Friday, 41-year-old Phung Ca Long of Vinton admitted in court that she had engaged in a conspiracy to hire illegal aliens for commercial gain. In addition, Long has admitted she made false statements to Medicaid to get benefits valued at nearly $24,000. Long, who is free on bond, has been ordered to repay that Medicaid money. She faces up to 15 years in prison and a half-a-million dollar fine. A sentencing date has not been set.

In late October, Long and the other owner of the Peony Restaurant in Vinton were charged with providing employment, transportation and housing for the illegal immigrants who worked in their business. The other restaurant owner is 43-year-old Chan Gia Duong. His case is still pending and he has been charged with tax fraud as well.