A New Jersey woman appeared in Newark federal court Wednesday on charges that she held a Sri Lankan national against her will for years and forced the victim to work without pay as a domestic servant.
Alia Imad Faleh Al Hunaity, 43, was indicted Dec. 4, 2018, on charges of forced labor, alien harboring, and marriage fraud. She remains free on a $150,000 unsecured bond.
Defense attorney Robert Kovic said Hunaity is not guilty of the charges, but declined to comment further.
Citing documents filed in this case and statements made in court, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Hunaity brought the woman to the United States on a temporary visa in 2009 so the victim could perform domestic services.
But Hunaity caused the victim to overstay her visa, and the woman remained in the United States illegally, living exclusively with Hunaity for more than nine years, Carpenito said.
During that time, Hunaity forced the woman to work without pay and limited her interactions with the outside world. In 2018, Hunaity coerced the victim to marry her for the purpose of obtaining legal residence so she could continue to work without pay for Hunaity, Carpenito alleges.
Hunaity was arrested on Sept.19 and made her initial appearance that day before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Cathy L. Waldor.
If convicted of forced labor, Hunaity could face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The alien harboring and marriage fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Hunaity could also be subject to a fine of $250,000.
Carpenito credited the Newark division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with conducting the investigation.
(under the courtesy of adaderana.lk news web)