CHICAGO (jGLi) – A high-ranking representative from Taiwan was ordered deported by United States Judge Greg Kays of the Western District of Missouri in Kansas City on Friday, Jan. 27, for fraud in foreign labor contracting after fraudulently obtaining two Filipino servants for her residence.
It was another Filipino, who was able to help authorities rescue the Filipina servant, who was not identified in the court records. The names of the two Filipino servants were redacted from the records.
Beth Phillips, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that Hsien-Hsien “Jacqueline” Liu, 64, of Taiwan, was sentenced by Judge Kays, who accepted the blinding plea agreement and sentenced Liu to time served. She has been in federal custody without bond since her arrest on Nov. 20, 2011.
The court also ordered Liu to pay $80,044 in restitution and to pay a fine, still to be determined, to cover the full costs of her incarceration and deportation (including the expense of the federal agents in whose custody she will travel). It also ordered Liu to be removed from United States. She will remain in federal custody and be deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Under the terms of her plea agreement, Liu was required to waive her right to a hearing before an immigration judge and to pay a total of $80,044 in restitution for the two victims. The victims received those payments prior to Friday’s sentencing hearing.
Liu, who pleaded guilty on Nov. 18, 2011, was the Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office located in Kansas City, Missouri. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) is one of 13 offices responsible for maintaining close unofficial relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan.
VICTIMS TO GET T-VISA
Liu admitted that she fraudulently entered into employment contracts with two Filipino housekeepers, whom Liu then brought to the United States to work for her on B-1 visas. She paid them significantly less than the contractual amount and forced them to work excessive hours. Liu’s restitution payment represents full restitution for the hours they actually worked, based upon a work schedule of 16-18 hours per day, six-and-a-half days per week.
The victims have been certified as victims of a severe form of human trafficking under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. As a result, they will receive government support for a T-visa, which would allow them to legally live and work in the United States.
In November 2010, Liu recruited and solicited a female citizen of Manila, Philippines (identified in the plea agreement as Female Victim #1) to come to the United States to work as a housekeeper for her residence. Liu sent a signed contract via both Federal Express and fax from Kansas City, Mo., to Manila, which contained fraudulent terms of employment. The employment contract, which was used to obtain a B-1 visa for the victim, required that she be paid $1,240 per month to work 40 hours a week, eight hours a day. It only required her to be present in the residence during work hours.
Liu admitted that she did not intend to comply with these terms. From March 6, 2011 to August 2011, contrary to the terms of the contract, Liu only paid the victim $450 a month, increased her work hours to 16-18 hours per day, and required that she work on the weekends and holidays. Liu had surveillance cameras installed inside the residence to monitor the victim and did not allow her to leave the residence without supervision or permission.
LIU ALSO ADMITTED SIMILAR MISCONDUCT TO ANOTHER FILIPINA
She also admitted that she engaged in the same conduct with another employee, also a woman from the Philippines, whom Liu employed in 2009-2010. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia L. Cordes. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.
According to Steven J. Leippert, Special Agent with the FBI in Kansas City, it was in September of 2011 when a Filipina, who was living in the Philippines, was approached regarding a position for a domestic helper located in Kansas City.
After the Filipina flew from Manila to the U.S. and landed at MCI airport in Kansas City on March 5, 2011, she was greeted at the airport by another TECO employee, who drove her to Liu’s house in Johnson County, Kansas.
The following day Liu handed the Filipina a schedule of the things she was supposed to do each day, and what times each task was to be completed. She was to work 16-18 hours days and restricted when she could sleep. Liu monitored the Filipina’s movement with surveillance cameras Liu installed in her residence.
Liu was verbally abusive of the Filipina, who was asked to do manual labor and personal services for Liu. Liu also took the Filipina’s passport and visa and would not return to them. She told her she was not to leave the house without permission, and that she would be working six days a week at a minimum. Liu told the Filipina that Liu was friends with local law enforcement and known well in the community, so if the Filipina acted out, she would be deported.
She would drive the Filipina to the grocery store and have her go inside the groceries. It was one of these trips that the Filipina located a Filipino inside the store and sought his help.
On Aug. 10, 2011, the Filipino decided to escape from the residence of Liu, grasping her pay envelopes, which held her cash, detailing her underpayment that she provided to Leippert.
Liu held an E-1 visa or Treaty visa. ([email protected])