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Wealthy NY Woman Kept Servant Locked in a Closet in Mansion

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on March 05, 2012 5:05 AM

The wealthy owner of a sprawling New York mansion broke immigration laws by forcing a virtual house slave to overstay her visa, a federal complaint alleges. The illegal alien was also forced to sleep in a closet.

Mansion owner Annie George, 39, of Rexford, N.Y., required her servant to work 17-hour days, seven days a week -- and paid the woman an average of 85 cents an hour over a five-year span, according to the complaint obtained by the website The Smoking Gun.

George's 12-acre, $30 million estate includes a 30,000 square-foot mansion with a helicopter pad, 24-karat gold gilded ceilings, 34 rooms and 10 bedrooms, the complaint states. Yet George forced her servant, identified by the initials "V.M.," to sleep in a walk-in closet.

Annie George and her late husband, who was killed in a plane crash in 2009, lured V.M. to work as their servant by offering her $1,000 a month -- significantly more than V.M. was making as a servant for another family, the Associated Press reports.

But the Georges paid V.M. only $29,000 for more than five years of work. That means the Georges owe V.M. more than $200,000 in back pay, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found, according to the complaint.

The Georges -- who are from the same region of India as the servant -- also induced the servant to overstay her visa, the complaint alleges.

That allegation forms the basis of the feds' criminal complaint: Annie George is charged with encouraging and inducing an illegal alien to reside in the United States, along with aiding and abetting. George denies the charges, and remains free without bond.

As for V.M., immigration agents removed her from George's home last year, after a tip from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, The Smoking Gun reports. The former closet-dwelling servant's current whereabouts were not disclosed.

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