ALBANY - Federal authorities have accused an upstate New York woman of breaking immigration law by keeping an illegal alien as a servant who was paid little for cooking, cleaning and care for six children.
According to the criminal complaint, 39-year-old Annie George of Rexford induced the Indian woman, identified only as V.M., to overstay her visa. She had worked as a domestic servant for a U.N. employee's family previously, but George offered her $1,000 a month in 2005 to come to the Albany area. The woman said she worked about 17 hours a day at the family's mansion and was only paid about $29,000 altogether.
After a hotline complaint of forced labor, immigration agents removed her from George's home last May. Her whereabouts could not immediately be learned.
George was released on her own recognizance after an initial court appearance this week.
Her lawyer, Donald Kinsella, said Thursday that she will deny the charge.
"We just dispute what's alleged in the complaint. There's several exaggerations, gross errors," he said.
According to investigators, V.M. told them through a Hindi-speaking translator that she communicated with George, her husband and other family members in Malayam, an Indian dialect common to the Kerala region, where she and the couple came from. V.M. said she could not drive and seldom left the residence, and that her own family didn't visit from India.
Investigators said a labor department assessment indicated V.M. was lawfully entitled to about $77,000 for her last two years of employment and about $206,000 for the approximately six years.
An affidavit by special agent Daria Botten said the woman recounted asking George, also known as Annie Kolath and Sajimol George, and her husband to let her return to India, but was told she lacked the necessary immigration documents. George brought her to see an attorney, and deducted $4,000 from her pay, but she never got documents.
George's husband and oldest son died in a plane crash in 2009.