OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Two former western Nebraska motel managers will spend a year and a day in federal prison and be deported for enslaving and abusing their nephew.
Vishnubhai Chaudhari, 50, and Leelabahen Chaudhari, 44, were sentenced Monday in federal court in Omaha, <a target=”—blank” href=”http://www.omaha.com/news/crime/former-western-nebraska-hotel-managers-are-sentenced-for-enslaving-relative/article%E2%80%947b2a91d1-65e6-54b3-95c5-1c0e36db41d2.html”>the Omaha World-Herald reported</a> . They pleaded guilty to conspiracy and alien harboring for financial gain in December. They’ve also paid the man $40,000 in restitution.
The couple managed a Super 8 Motel in Kimball, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) northeast of Denver.
Investigators said the couple arranged for their nephew’s bond to be paid after he was taken into immigration custody in 2011 and then forced him to work for them from October 2011 to February 2013. All three are from India and illegally living in the U.S.
The pair forced their nephew to clean rooms, wash clothes and do other chores for them seven days a week, investigators said. The Chaudharis isolated him from guests at the motel and hid him from police officers in the area. Leelabahen Chaudhari assaulted the victim on a regular basis and Vishnubhai Chaudhari threatened to find the man if he were to escape, the U.S. Justice Department said.
The Justice Department said a motel guest and local law enforcement helped the man escape.
“This case is a reminder that labor exploitation occurs in the United States, not just overseas, and federal law targets those who profit from human trafficking and related crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Joe Kelly for the District of Nebraska.