Texas Couple Charged with Holding Nanny Hostage as Virtual Slave

A Houston area couple has been arrested on charges of forced labor, withholding documents, conspiracy to harbor an illegal immigrant and visa fraud after they forced a Nigerian woman to work as a nanny for up to 20 hours a day for two years.

Chudy and Sandra Nsobundu allegedly held the 38-year-old woman hostage, taking away her passport and subjecting her to physical and verbal abuse, according to the complaint. The unidentified woman said the Nsobundus had promised to pay her $100 per month to work in their Cinco Ranch home, but she was never paid.

According to the criminal complaint, the woman referred to only as “A.E.” was living in Lagos, Nigeria, before coming to live with the Nsobundus in September 2013, to care for the couple’s five children. The Nsobundus, also from Nigeria, are naturalized U.S. citizens. The complaint alleges that the Nsobundus falsified visa documents for A.E. to enter the U.S. as a purported relative.

Once they reached the U.S., the Nsobundus confiscated A.E.’s passport and forced her to work from 5:30 a.m. until 1 a.m. with no breaks, allowed her to eat only leftovers and did not allow her to take hot showers.

In addition, A.E. alleged that Sandra Nsobundu hit her repeatedly when she was dissatisfied with her work. The compliant said that Sandra Nsobundu hit A.E. in the face with a slipper and threatened to shoot and kill her because she did not like the socks A.E. had put on one of her children.

After A.E. discovered that the Nsobundus had not paid her salary into her Nigerian bank account for more than two years, she sought help and was rescued last October after a tip was phone in to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

If convicted, the Nsobundus face up to 20 years in federal prison.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a boutique law firm focusing on large, complex business and criminal financial-related litigation, including white collar criminal defense, securities fraud, health care fraud investigation, criminal appeals and state criminal defense. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or dan@cogdell-law.com.