To hear investigators talk, the victim, fearful he would be caught and deported, worked 11 hours a day, seven days a week for three years.
Now, the Niagara Falls restaurant owner who supervised him is looking at spending up to six months in prison.
Jing Lin, who owned Beijing China Buffet, 2429 Military Road., admitted lying to federal agents about an illegal Mexican immigrant who worked for him and was paid off the books.
Lin, who now lives in North Carolina, pleaded guilty to making a false statement.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol Bridge said Lin, who is not a U.S. citizen, also faces deportation.