A Houston-based couple was ordered at the weekend to pay more than $121,000 in restitution to a Nigerian nanny who worked in their home.
The couple had pleaded guilty to federal charges related to forcing the woman to work nearly 20 hours a day, taking care of their home and five children without pay for two years, authorities said.
Besides, Chudy Nsobundu, 57, and his wife Sandra, 49, were sentenced to seven months in jail and seven months of home confinement, plus three years probation.
The couple, who are Nigerian-born, naturalized U.S. citizens, recruited the woman by promising her a $100 monthly wage. Instead, they abused her physically and verbally while she worked at their home in the Houston suburb of Katy from September 2013 to October 2015, authorities said.
Chudy Nsobundu pleaded guilty to visa fraud in 2016 while his wife pleaded guilty to unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of forced labour.
According to court documents, the nanny worked every day from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., with no breaks, and no fresh food, and at times was allowed to drink only the milk left in the children’s cereal bowls.
The Nsobundus prevented the nanny from leaving their employment by withholding her passport and by threatening her with physical and mental abuse, authorities said.
The nanny reached out for help and was rescued following a tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Centre.
Prosecutors also say the couple knowingly submitted false application to the U.S. State Department for the woman’s visa application.