Richard and Martha Smalanskas, a couple from Boston, have pled guilty to charges of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. A charge of harboring an illegal immigrant is reportedly being dismissed. The charges stem from the fact that the couple illegally smuggled a Bolivian woman to the United States after allowing her to work as their nanny for 3 years in Bolivia. It is reported in a MailOnline article that the women was 16 at the time she was hired and worked for the couple here in the United States for more than a decade.
Case details reported by MailOnline indicate that the women was forced to work 84 hours a week and that although she was originally promised to be paid $100 a month, the couple sometimes paid her as little as $35 a month. She was reportedly paid $2500 for the entire 13 years she worked for the family performing such tasks as cooking, cleaning, and caring for the couples three children. The article indicates that the women also would be forced to shovel snow. The couple is said to have taken the women’s travel documents to prevent her from leaving.
The Boston Globe reports that the couple has made an agreement with prosecutors to pay the women $150,000 in restitution and to serve a year of probation. Considering the couple could have faced up to ten years in prison under the dismissed charge of harboring an illegal immigrant, the reported agreement seems like a light punishment for stealing so many years of a young woman’s life. Official sentencing is set to occur on April 2, 2014.
Reports do not go into detail about how the women was able to get away from the couple, only that she was removed from the couple’s home in May 2011. There also is no current update on the woman’s condition or location.