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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
02/25/2009

Virginia man pleads guilty to harboring Indonesian aliens

Illegal aliens were employed in housekeeping business

WASHINGTON, D.C.- A Falls Church, Va., man pleaded guilty today to charges of harboring illegal aliens for commercial advantage and private financial gain. Lorretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice announced the plea, which resulted from an ICE and FBI joint investigation.

Soripada Lubis, a naturalized American citizen originally from Indonesia, admitted that he harbored between 6 and 24 aliens and that he was a leader and organizer of the housekeeping business. Lubis' wife, Siti Chadidjah Siregar, a citizen of Indonesia, pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal agents who were investigating the scheme. Siregar told the agents that the women had requested that Siregar and Lubis keep their Indonesian passports.

According to the court documents, Lubis kept the women on a regimented schedule. During the week, the women would live with and work as housekeepers for wealthy families in Potomac, Md.

On the weekends, Lubis and Siregar transported the women back to their basement, where some of the women slept three to a bed. According to the investigation, Lubis and Siregar also imposed various rules on the Indonesian women that restrained their freedom of movement and they confiscated the women's passports. Lubis and Siregar charged the women $375 per month for "rent" and transportation, plus fees for "taxes" and to send money to Indonesia. During the last five years, Lubis and Siregar made more than $90,000 from their enterprise.

"The Civil Rights Division vigorously investigates charges of labor trafficking and will prosecute those who are exploiting vulnerable aliens," said Lorretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.

At sentencing Lubis faces up to 10 years in prison as well as an order to pay restitution to several women whom he hired out to work as maids. Siregar faces up to five years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been determined.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Gillis and Civil Rights Division trial attorney Michael J. Frank are prosecuting the case.