Brother and Sister Admit to Participating in Forced Labor Program | USAO-SDCA
SUMMARY OF THE PRESS RELEASE – September 30, 2021
SAN DIEGO – Cindy Mydung Luu and Jason Luu of Tierrasanta, siblings and naturalized U.S. citizens, pleaded guilty today in federal court to document bondage, admitting to participating in a forced labor program where the victim was their cousin Vietnamese.
At a hearing before US trial judge Karen S. Crawford, the defendants admitted to facilitating the travel of their cousin (identified in the plea agreements as “LX”) from Vietnam to the United States on a visa to the United States. student in September 2014. After her arrival, the defendants forced LX to work up to seven days a week up to 12 hours a day, and she had to give up all of her earnings. From December 2014 to March 2016, she worked for one of the defendants’ relatives at a San Diego company, and after graduating as a nail technician, the defendants ordered LX to leave college and work. full time in their two nail salons, Eden Nails Lounge. & Spa and Majestic Nail Salon, both located in Rancho Bernardo. The defendants also arranged a fictitious marriage with defendant Jason Luu in 2015 so that LX could obtain lawful permanent resident status in the United States. Once she was granted legal permanent resident status, the defendants denied her LX’s “green card” as part of their forced labor program. Throughout this period, the defendants forced LX to work in their company by threatening LX with losing his immigration status. According to the plea agreements, the Department of Labor currently estimated that the defendants owed LX back wages, overtime and damages in the amount of $ 279,467.52.
“Forced labor is a form of modern day slavery that takes a heavy financial and emotional toll. In addition to depriving victims of fair wages and freedom, this systematic coercion instills a sense of helplessness, humiliation, disorientation and confusion, often causing lasting trauma, ”said Acting United States Attorney Randy Grossman. “The federal government will vigorously prosecute those who exploit the vulnerable and force them to work to line their pockets. Grossman praised the excellent work of AUSA Seth Askins and former AUSA Chris Tenorio and Federal Homeland Security Investigators who pursued the case, which also received support from the US Department of Labor.
Grossman encouraged those who come into contact with a worker who appears to be controlled or compelled to report their suspicions. While there is no single way to identify victims of worker trafficking, some common patterns include:
- Isolate victims to prevent them from getting help. Their activities are restricted and they are usually watched, escorted or guarded by associates of traffickers. Traffickers can even “coach” them to answer questions with a cover story about being a student or a tourist.
- Victims may be blackmailed by traffickers using their status as undocumented aliens or their participation in an “illegal” industry. By threatening to report them to law enforcement or immigration officials, traffickers force victims to comply.
- Trafficked people often come from unstable and economically devastated places, as traffickers frequently identify vulnerable populations characterized by oppression, high rates of illiteracy, low social mobility and few economic opportunities.
- Women and children are often the most common victims of labor trafficking.
Persons who suspect human trafficking are urged to call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.373.7888. This helpline helps members of the public determine if they have encountered victims of human trafficking, will identify local resources available to assist victims, and help coordinate with local social service organizations to help protect. and serve the victims so that they can begin the process of restoring their lives.
The defendants are expected to be sentenced on December 17, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller.
DEFENDANTS File number 19CR4970-JM
Cindy Mydung Luu Age: 54 San Diego, California
Jason Luu Age: 46 San Diego, California
SUMMARY OF EXPENSES
Document Easement – Title 18, USC, Section 1592
Maximum penalty: 5 years imprisonment and a $ 250,000 fine
Internal security investigations