NOVI, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – A judge has postponed the sentencing of a suburban Detroit couple while they try to sell a house where five immigrants died in a fire.

Roger Tam and Ada Mei Lei were due in federal court next week, but the hearing has been moved to Sept. 7. Attorney Ray Cassar says money from the sale of the Novi home would go toward paying $174,000 in restitution to the victims’ families.

Tam and Lei pleaded guilty in February without making a deal to knowing the immigrants were in the U.S. illegally.

A teenager and four young men from Mexico worked at the couple’s restaurant and lived in the house. They died in a 2016 fire, which has been linked to careless smoking.

The victims 16-year-old Brayan Contreras, 18-year-olds Leonel Rodriguez, and Simeon Nunez and 23-year-olds Miguel Diaz and Pablo Encino were Mexican nationals.

The Oakland County Medical Examiner said all five men died from carbon monoxide, smoke and soot inhalation, and one of them suffered burns.

Cassar says there’s been a separate settlement with an insurance company.

Tam and Lei each face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  1. Why? Their attorney can handle the sale. They can give their daughter power of attorney to handle the sale. Why are these criminals being giving such freedom? They knowingly committed numerous Federal crimes, were responsible for multiple deaths, yet there is no great need to see them locked up. WHY?

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