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Couple to be sentenced for harboring 5 immigrants who died

Posted at 7:37 AM, Dec 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-05 08:35:41-05

Prosecutors say the former owners of a Detroit-area restaurant deserve seven years in prison for the deaths of five immigrants who didn't escape a house fire.

A teenager and four men from Mexico were in the U.S. illegally, working at a restaurant owned by Roger Tam and wife Ada Mei Lei. The immigrants died in 2016 while living in the basement of a home also owned by the couple.

Tam and Lei will be sentenced Tuesday for harboring immigrants. They could face years in prison if a federal judge believes they recklessly created a high risk of death.

Defense lawyers say the government is overreaching. They say the basement wasn't a "death chamber" but was finished with two bedrooms, a kitchen and living area. The house recently sold for $300,000.