KATY, Texas– The Katy couple charged in relation to enslaving their nanny pleaded guilty on Wednesday.
Sandra Nsobundu, 49, entered a plea to unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of forced labor, while her husband, Chudy Nsobundu, 57, pleaded to visa fraud.
For two years, the couple had a Nigerian woman as a maid and nanny in their home.
The immigration laws and regulations of the U.S. require citizens of certain foreign countries who seek admission to the U.S. to obtain a visa prior to entry. The couple knowingly provided a false visa application for the victim to be submitted with numerous pieces of false information.
After obtaining the woman’s visa, the couple paid to transport the nanny from Nigeria to the U.S. Once here, Sandra Nsobundu took the victim’s passport and copies of her bank statement.
The couple hid the woman’s passport and visa with the intent to violate the forced labor statute. They admitted to doing so in an effort to maintain her labor and services.
Throughout her stay with the couple, the victim was not permitted to have her passport or visa. They made her believe that failure to perform the labor and services would result in serious harm to her.
According to testimony, they restricted the nanny’s movement to the defendants’ residence or two short walks per day around the block with the children.
She was yelled at for moving too slowly or failing to care for the children in the manner they wanted. She was also threatened to send the woman back to Nigeria if she did not comply with their labor demands.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is seeking restitution in the amount of $129,108 to the victim alleging the defendants owe that amount in back wages.
The couple agreed to pay the victim $100 U.S. per month, but the nanny was never paid.
The victim was rescued Oct. 10, 2015, following a tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
Sandra Nsobundu faces a maximum of five years in prison, while her husband faces up to 10 years imprisonment. Both could also face up to a $250,000 fine.