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Indian American convicted of harbouring illegal Indian maid

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Sat, Mar 09, 2013 14:20 hrs

New York, March 9 (IANS) An Indian American widow charged with keeping an undocumented Indian maid as a slave has been convicted of harbouring an illegal immigrant, but found not guilty of the stiffer charge of keeping her for financial gain.

Annie George, 40, could possibly be sentenced to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and forfeiture of her share of a mansion near Albany in upstate New York, according to local newspaper The Saratogian.

George is scheduled to be sentenced July 9 by Federal District Court Judge Gary Sharpe in Albany, about 140 miles north of New York City.

George was arrested in February 2012 on charges of harbouring illegal Indian immigrant Valsamma Mathai for five-and-a-half years at three different homes and using her as a servant for personal gain.

George's husband, Mathai Kolath George, and her eldest son were killed in a plane crash in 2009.

The US Attorney's Office said Valsamma Mathai was used as a domestic, cook and babysitter by the family for up to 17 hours a day, seven days a week, from October 2005 through May 2011. The prosecution claimed her agreed-upon salary was $1,000 per month.

Early Friday, the jury asked to have portions of George's testimony read back to them. Shortly after noon, the jury sent a note to Judge Sharpe asking for clarification on exactly when someone goes from being in the country legally to being an illegal alien.

The judge, according to The Saratogian, explained what a US visa permits. "If they go beyond the limitations of that visa, they are illegal," he said.



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