A wealthy upstate New York woman is being accused of breaking immigration laws by keeping an illegal immigrant as her servant and forcing her to work inhumane hours for barely any pay.
The maid, identified as V.M. in official records, describes working grueling 17-hour days and taking care of six children, all while being forced to live inside a closet for nearly six years.
Speaking through Hindi translators, V.M. said she was rarely allowed to leave the residence and had limited contact with her family back in India.
The accused woman, 39-year old Annie George and widow of Mathai Kolath George who died in a plane accident in 2009, hired V.M. from India and initially promised to pay her $1000 per month. But V.M. claims she has only been paid $29,000 since and investigators are saying the woman is entitled to $77,000 for the last two years and about $206,000 for the entire six years of employment.
The minimum wage for New York State is $7.25 per hour for a standard 40-hour work week, which calculates into George only reimbursing the maid $.85 per hour.
Exacerbating the charges is George's apparent colossal wealth, which boasts a 34-room mansion, helicopter pad, a massive solarium, and glass elevator.
George appeared in court earlier this week and was permitted to go on the basis of her own recognizance. Her lawyer commented on the allegations, "We just dispute what's alleged in the complaint. There's several exaggerations, gross errors."