New York, Aug. 19 (PTI): A US woman accused of keeping an illegal Indian immigrant as domestic help for five years has said the maid is using the trial to gain a permanent legal status in the country for herself and her children.
“As an avenue to secure permanent legal status in the United States for both herself and her children, she has condemned my client,” Mark Sacco, the lawyer for Annie George, said in a trial briefing submitted in a US district court.
According to the briefing, George’s late husband had asked the woman, identified only as VM, to work at their New York home.
The prosecutors said George, 40, didn’t pay her adequately. She has been charged with harbouring an illegal immigrant for financial gain.
George, who has pleaded not guilty, is scheduled to go on trial on August 27 and could face up to 10 years in jail if convicted.
According to the prosecutors, VM had been offered $1,000 a month for working as a live-in servant for George, her husband and six children.
But the middle-aged woman was paid about $26,000 for her five years of service, which included cooking, cleaning and child care every day from 5:30am to 11pm.
The prosecutors said George should pay VM $256,000 in wages and $87,000 in overtime, based on the minimum wage.
VM, who came to the US in 1998, has no bank account, passport or identification documents and speaks limited English.
During her stay with the George family, VM never saw a doctor or dentist and could not leave the house unless her work was complete.