Boulder restaurateur Opas Sinprasong will do time for exploiting workers

Last October, Opas Sinprasong -- a Thai national who once owned Siamese Plate, Siamese Plate on the Go and Sumida's in Boulder and Louisville -- pleaded guilty to harboring illegal aliens and failure to pay taxes.

Yesterday he was sentenced: The restaurateur will do time, pay a hefty sum and return to Thailand when his punishment ends.

For seven years, Sinprasong obtained work visas for fellow Thai citizens so that they could come to the U.S. as employees of his restaurant; he also made those workers sign two-year contracts and pay fees via their paychecks. He failed to pay overtime, even though his staff averaged 26 to 32 hours of extra work per week. He harbored illegal immigrants. Oh, and he kept two separate payroll books, paying many employees under the table so he wouldn't have to send tax money to the IRS. Quite the rap sheet.

His labor practices were compared to slavery. And the government demanded its cash.

Sinprasong was sentenced to 366 days in the pokey, a fine of $4,000 and restitution of $754,975 -- $509,618 of which will go to former employees and $245,357 of which goes straight to the IRS. And after he's done with his punishment, he'll have a one-way ticket back to Thailand.

To cover those fees, he'll sell his two Boulder homes, worth about $766,000. He no longer owns restaurants; Siamese Plate got a fresh start last year as Naraya.

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