An Indian American couple is accused of coercing a man to work under “deplorable conditions” and under threats of physical force and intimidation.
Harmanpreet Singh and Kulbir Kaur face seven counts including conspiracy to commit forced labor and alien harboring for financial gain, reports The Statesman.
A federal jury in Richmond, Virginia alleged the couple compelled Singh’s cousin to work at the couple’s gas station and convenience store in North Chesterfield, according to the Hindustan Times.
Prosecutors say the couple physically abused the man, as well as confiscated the victim’s immigration documents to ensure that he would comply with their demands, the American Bazaar reported. The indictment further alleges that the couple, Singh and Kaur, “committed bankruptcy-related fraud offenses.”
The couple’s charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, up to five years of supervised release, and mandatory restitution. This announcement was made by Jessica D. Aber, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; and Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office.
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