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Patel Couple Appears In Federal Court

Reported by: Ellen Bryan
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Updated: 11/21/2013 11:32 pm

A couple accused of ‘forcing’ illegal aliens to work in their restaurants in Lexington was in Federal Court for the first time Thursday.

Amrutlal and Dakshaben Patel sat behind their attorneys with headphones on to listen to a translator.

In this first court appearance for the couple, the judge went over formalities.

The judge said the Patels are charged with concealing and harboring illegal aliens for commercial and private financial gain.

Investigators said the Patels ran four Subway Restaurants in Lexington.

According to court documents, the couple knowingly housed their employees who were their employees, who were in the United State illegally, and sometimes beat those workers and denied them food.

But Mark Wohlander, one of the defense attorneys, said there are several inaccuracies in the complaint filed against his client.

He said the Patels are good, hard working people who want to get their businesses back up and running.

Wohlander also said he went into the Patel’s House Thursday morning and said there’s no such thing as a hidden locked room where the workers stayed, as the complaint suggests.

The judge said for each alien, the couple faces up to ten years in prison, a $2,500 fine and three year of supervision if they were released from jail.

He said they are also in risk of deportation.

Their preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday.

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