[box type=”default” size=”large”] Victims receive restitution payment of $80,000 each [/box]CHICAGO – A top female official of Taiwan was recently ordered deported by United States Judge Greg Kays of the Western District of Missouri in Kansas City for fraud in foreign-labor contracting.
The Taiwanese official was found to have fraudulently obtained the services of two Filipino servants who had worked in her residence in Kansas City.
A Filipino helped US authorities rescue one of the Filipina servants, who was not identified in the court records. The names of the two Filipina servants were redacted from the records.
Beth Phillips, US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, reported that Hsien-Hsien “Jacqueline” Liu, 64, of Taiwan, was sentenced by Judge Kays, who aproved the plea agreement and sentenced the accused to time served.
Ms. Liu has been detained since her arrest on Nov. 20, 2011. No bail was granted to her.
The court ordered Liu to pay $80,044 in restitution and a fine, the amount of which is still to be determined, to cover the costs of her incarceration and deportation. The costs include the expense of the federal agents who will be travelling with her to Taiwan.
She will remain in federal custody and will be deported by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations.
Under the terms of her plea agreement, Liu is required to waive her right to a hearing before an immigration judge and to pay $80,044 in restitution for the two victims who received the payments before the sentencing hearing held last Jan. 27.
Liu, who pleaded guilty on Nov. 18, 2011, was director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Kansas City, Missouri.
TECO in Kansas is one of 13 such offices responsible for maintaining close unofficial relations between the United States and Taiwan. TECOs serve as consulate offices of Taiwan in the US and other countries.
Liu admitted that she fraudulently entered into employment contracts with two Filipina housekeepers, whom she brought to the US on B-1 visas.
Liu paid them less than the amounts stipulated in their contracts and forced them to work excessively long hours. Liu’s payment represents full restitution of the payment for the hours they actually worked, based upon a work schedule of 16-18 hours per day, six-and-half days per week.
The victims have been certified as victims of a severe form of human trafficking under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. They will receive government assistance in obtaining T-visas, which will allow them to legally live and work in the US.
In November 2010, Liu recruited and solicited a female citizen of the Philippines (identified in the plea agreement only as Female Victim No. 1) to come to the United States to work as a housekeeper at her residence. Liu sent a signed contract via both Federal Express and fax from Kansas City to Manila. The contract contained fraudulent terms of employment. The contract, which was used to obtain a B-1 visa for the victim, required that she be paid $1,240 per month for 40 hours of work a week or eight hours a day. It required the victim to be present in the residence during work hours.
Liu admitted that she did not intend to comply with the terms of employment. From March 6, 2011 to August 2011, contrary to the terms of the contract, Liu paid the victim only $450 a month, increased her work hours to 16-18 hours per day and required her to on the weekends and holidays. Liu had surveillance cameras installed in the residence to monitor the victim and did not allow her to leave the house without supervision or permission.
Liu also admitted that she did the same fraudulent to another employee, also a woman from the Philippines, whom she employed in 2009-2010.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Cynthia L. Cordes. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.
Steven J. Leippert, special agent of the FBI in Kansas City, said that in September 2011, a Filipina, who was living in the Philippines, was approached to be hired as domestic helper in Kansas City.
When the Filipina landed at MCI airport in Kansas City on March 5, 2011, she was met by another TECO employee, who brought the Filipina to Liu’s house in Johnson County, Kansas.
The following day, Liu handed to the Filipina a schedule of the things she was to do each day, and what times each task was to be completed. She was to work 16-18 hours days.
Liu verbally abused the Filipina, who was asked to do manual labor and personal services. Liu took the Filipina’s passport and visa which were not returned to her.
Liu told her she was not to leave the house without permission, and that she would be working six days a week at the minimum.
Liu would drive the Filipina to a grocery store and had her go in the store. It was one of these trips that the Filipina met in the store a Filipino whose help she sought.
On Aug. 10, 2011, the Filipina escaped from the residence of Liu. She had her pay envelopes containing cash and showing the underpayment. She gave the pay envelopes to FBI agent Leippert.
Liu held an E-1 visa or treaty visa.