Varsha Sabhnani, who is an Indian origin American was today sentenced to 11 years in prison for keeping two Indonesian women as slaves, forcing them to work up to 20 hours a day for years after confiscating their passports.
Varsha Sabhnani and her husband, Mahender Sabhnani, were convicted in December of forced labor, peonage, harboring aliens, document servitude and conspiracy in what prosecutors called “a case of modern-day slavery.”
Mahender Sabhnani was due to be sentenced on Friday, also by Judge Arthur Spatt, at U.S. federal court in Central Islip, on New York state’s Long Island.
Defense lawyers had argued that the victims made up the story and were delusional.
Prosecutors said the couple, both U.S. citizens, brought two women, identified only as Samirah, 51, and Enung, 47, to the United States from Indonesia with promises to pay $200 a month for housekeeping duties.
Instead, the women testified, they were beaten with brooms, scalded with hot water and forced to eat hot chili peppers as well as forced to carry out household duties. Both were forced to sleep on mats and had to steal food to get enough to eat, prosecutors said.