Man guilty of trafficking in forced labor
Kizzy Kalu, a Colorado businessman on trial for luring nursing home workers to the United States under false pretenses, was found guilty July 2 of trafficking in forced labor.
A jury convicted him on all but six of 95 criminal counts after two and a half days of deliberation. The charges included trafficking in forced labor, visa fraud and mail fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 23 in U.S. District Court in Denver, according to The Denver Post.
Enticed by Kalu's promise of $72,000 per year jobs at a university that existed in name only, the 25 nurses, most of whom were from the Philippines, moved to the United States, but only after each paid Kalu $6,500 for a visa.
After the nurses had arrived stateside, Kalu retracted the promise of high-paying jobs at a university and, instead, placed them in nursing home positions.
The facilities paid Kalu's company, Foreign Health Care Professionals Group, the nurses' wages, most of which Kalu retained. In one instance, a facility paid $35 per hour for a nurse, and Kalu paid the nurse just $20 an hour, pocketing the rest, the Post reported.
When authorities eventually became interested in Kalu's company, the businessman and his partner altered their scheme. They had the nursing homes start paying the nurses directly.
But Kalu still demanded a cut of $1,200 per month from each nurse, threatening to send a letter to the Department of Homeland Security to have visas retracted if the nurses did not comply.
In fact, when one nurse stopped making payments, Kalu reported her to immigration officials and her visa was taken away. Others who refused to pay Kalu also subsequently had their visas taken away.