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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
02/12/2010

2 sentenced in Pennsylvania in forced labor case

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Two people were sentenced on February 11 on forced labor trafficking, marriage fraud and forced labor organization charges in federal court for their involvement in a forced labor organization investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Central Pennsylvania.

Lynda Dieu Phan, 39, and Duc Cao Nguyen, 41, both of New Cumberland, Pa., were sentenced to a 90-day term of imprisonment followed by 270 days of home arrest and one year of supervised release. The judge further ordered that Phan pay $300,000 in restitution. The court's order also included the forfeiture of a 2008 Toyota Highlander and $185,416.82 that was seized. Nguyen was sentenced to a one-year term of probation and a $1,000 fine.

In October 2009, Lynda Dieu Phan pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to commit forced labor trafficking, forced labor and marriage fraud. Duc Cao Nguyen and another co-defendant Justin Phan pleaded guilty to marriage fraud.

Court records show beginning sometime in 2000 until August 2008, Lynda Dieu Phan, Duc Cao Nguyen, and Justin Phan, conspired that Lynda Dieu Phan travel to Vietnam to recruit two victims to work in her nail salons located in the York, Pa. area. Fraudulent marriages were arranged so the victims could gain entry into the United States. Upon entry, the victims were forced to work at Lynda Dieu Phan's nail salons.

"This investigation has shown the unfortunate reality that modern day slavery continues to exist in the 21st century. Those who compel such acts will be held accountable," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Philadelphia. "Because this heinous crime is extremely well-hidden, we need to help educate members of the public about human trafficking, so that we can rescue the victims, and working with our local, state and federal partners, to prosecute those who engage in these horrendous acts."