Chudy Nsobundu, 57, and his wife, Sandra, 49, were also sentenced to seven months of house arrest and three years’ probation for their treatment of a Nigerian woman, the Associated Press reports.
The Houston-area couple had both pled guilty to federal charges related to forcing a Nigerian woman to work nearly 20 hours taking care of their home and five children without pay for two years was ordered Friday to pay her more than $121,000 in restitution.
Chudy Nsobundu, pled guilty in 2016 for visa fraud in relation to the case
The applicant’s date of birth was incorrect on the application, listing her 20 years older than she was, said she was married when she was not, incorrectly indicated the purpose of her travel was to attend a niece’s graduation and falsely identified her in a letter that Chudy Nsobundu was her brother. Prosecutors also said he made false representations under oath on the visa application to increase the chances that the application would be accepted and to hide the fact she’d be working for his family as a housemaid and nanny under conditions that violated U.S. labor laws.
Sandra Nsobundu allegedly induced the applicant claim her future employer as a close relative with a letter indicating she was not fluent in English. The man listed in the visa application nanny’s husband actually was the Nsobundus’ chaffeur in Nigeria.
Chudy and Sandra Nsobundu were fined and placed under house arrest enslaving their house keeper who also doubled as nanny for their five children
The unidentified victim said that the naturalized U.S. citizens — also from Nigeria — recruited her from her native country and agreed to pay her $100 a month to take care of their home and five children, according to a 2016 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
She claimed to have been physically and verbally abused while she working at the couple’s home in Katy, Texas from September 2013 to October 2015.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, the victim was subjected to physical and verbal abuse while employed by the Katy couple and regularly referred to as “the idiot.”
The victim allegedly worked every day from 5:30 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. and was responsible for cleaning the house, making meals and taking care of five children. The criminal complaint alleges she was told she could not watch television or even sit down during her work hours. She was also allegedly told to sleep on the floor and could not use warm water to bathe or wash her hair.
The affidavit also claims that she was not allowed to eat fresh food and was only permitted the leftovers from the previous prepared meals, – if the victim even wanted some milk for her tea, she would have to actually strain the milk out of the children’s cereal bowls, according to the allegations.
In one instance of alleged abuse, the criminal complaint charges that Sandra Nsobundu dragged the victim by her hair and hit her across her face because she did not like the pair of socks the victim put on one of the children.
The Nsobundu family home in Katy area of Houston, Texas
The victim did not have access to a phone and could not communicate with her family, according the charges. Her movements were mostly limited to the residence and allegedly only allowed out for short walks with the youngest children around her block.
The charges outlined in the complaint indicate the nanny was unable to escape the Nsobundus because they held on to her passport with other travel documents and threatened her with physical abuse, authorities said.
Chudy Nsobundu pled guilty in 2016 for visa fraud while Sandra pled guilty to unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of forced labor.
She eventually reached out to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center for help, the press release said.
The couple knowingly falsified the nanny’s visa application that was submitted to the Department of State, listing her age as 20 years older than she was, her reason for travelling as a niece’s graduation, calling Chudy Nsobundu her brother and claiming she was married when she was not.