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Case Number: 3:19-cr-85
Judge: John A. Gibney, Jr.
Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Henrico County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Richmond, Virginia criminal defense lawyer represented defendant charged with illegal forced labor.
Zahida Aman, age 80, Mohammad Nauman Chaudhri, age 54 and Mohammed Rehan Chaudhri, age 58, were charged with conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor, and document servitude.
“The defendants exploited someone who should have been a loved family member to force her to work in their home for over 14 years,” said U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Forced labor, the modern-day equivalent of slavery, has no place in our country or district, and we will stop at nothing to prosecute those that commit these or similar crimes. Let this conviction serve as a light to survivors impacted by labor trafficking and as a deterrent to those conspiring to commit heinous labor trafficking crimes.”
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, in 2002, the victim married Aman’s son and the brother of defendants Nauman and Rehan Chaudhri. Thereafter, she lived in the home of the defendants. Over the next 12 years, the three defendants forced her to perform domestic services. To coerce that labor, the defendants verbally assaulted and physically abused the victim over a period of 12 years. In addition, though the victim, a native of Pakistan, had temporary immigration status in the United States, defendant Aman took the victim’s immigration documents. Thereafter, defendants threatened the victim with deportation should she not obey their demands. The defendants also threatened to separate the victim from her children to coerce her labor.
“The defendants exploited the victim’s trust and inflicted cruel and inhumane physical and mental abuse on her, all so they could keep her working in their home as their domestic servant,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke. “Human trafficking is a disgraceful and unacceptable crime, and this verdict should send the very clear message that the Justice Department will investigate and vigorously prosecute these cases to hold human traffickers accountable and bring justice to their victims.”
“The FBI is committed to working with our partners to protect the civil rights of all persons, investigate and prosecute allegations of abuse, and assist the victims of these crimes throughout the process,” said Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Richmond Field Office. “The strength and perseverance of this victim and the investigative team should be commended; and we encourage any community member who knows of or suspects this type of abuse is occurring to report it to authorities immediately.”
Aman and Mohammed Rehan Chaudhri face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Mohammad Nauman Chaudhri faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney accepted the verdict. Homeland Security Investigations also participated in the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shea Gibbons, Stephen Miller, and Heather H. Mansfield are prosecuting the case, along with Trial Attorney Leah L. Branch of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1594(b); Title 18, United States Code, Section 1594(d); Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461: CONSPRIACY TO ENGAGE IN FORCED LABOR; CRIMINAL FORFEITURE
Title 18, U.S.C., § 371 - Conspiracy to Engage in Forced Labor/Title 18, U.S.C, § 1594(d); Title 28, U.S.C. § 2461(c) - Criminal Forfeiture
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1589, 1594(a), and 2: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1594(d); Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461(c): FORCED LABOR; AIDING AND ABETTING; CRIMINAL FORFEITURE
Title 18, U.S.C, §§ 1589, 1594 and 2/Title 18, U.S.C, § 1594(d); Title 28, U.S.C. § 2461(c) - Forced Labor; Criminal Forfeiture
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1592 and 2: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1594(d); Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461(c): DOCUMENT SERVITUDE; AIDING AND ABETTING; CRIMINAL FORFEITURE
Title 18, U.S.C, § 1592 and 2/Title 18, U.S.C, § 1594(d); Title 28, U.S.C. § 2461(c) - Document Servitude; Criminal Forfeiture
Outcome: Defendants were convicted by a jury.