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The Northshore’s Favorite Thai Restaurant is Closed While its Owner Faces Charges

Sticky Rice owner charged with employing unauthorized immigrants

Sticky Rice/Facebook

The Department of Justice said Thursday night that the owner of Sticky Rice, one of Eater New Orleans’ essential Covington restaurants, has been charged with harboring and employing illegal aliens at his restaurant.

Somphon Chiwabandit owns the Thai favorite in downtown Covington that appears to have abruptly closed over a month ago, according to comments on its Facebook page that started appearing seven weeks ago. Chiwabandit and his wife previously owned a restaurant, also on the Northshore, in Slidell before opening Sticky Rice in 2016, immediately building a loyal locals following.

The bill of information filed Monday by the Eastern District of Louisiana’s Attorney’s Office claims that Chiwabandit, a native of Thailand, recruited two illegal aliens to work at the restaurant and concealed them from the law sometime in the past six months.

If convicted, Chiwabandit faces a maximum of six months in prison and a maximum fine a $5,000, while his company, who was also charged, would be on the hook for as much as $500,000.

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