ATLANTA - A Woodstock, Georgia family, who allegedly submitted an immigrant from India to a form of modern slavery, was indicted here this week by a federal grand jury on human trafficking, alien harboring, witness tampering and making false statements charges following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.
Malika Garrett, 42, her husband, Russell Garrett, 43, a Forsyth County Deputy Sheriff and D. William Garret, 72, a Fulton County Magistrate Judge, allegedly conspired to encourage and induce a female Indian national to enter the United States under false pretenses for the purpose of serving as a nanny for the Garrett's children.
According to the indictment, Malika and Russell Garrett later stopped paying the victim for her work as a nanny, significantly curtailed her freedom and ability to leave their home, and threatened to malign her to her family in India if she did not work for them. The couple compelled the victim to work in their home for up to 16 hours a day, nearly every day. The indictment further alleges that, to control the victim, Malika and Russell Garrett insulted her, intimidated her, and threatened her with jail and deportation. With the assistance of a neighbor, the victim escaped the Garretts' home.
The indictment also alleges that after the victim escaped, Malika and Russell Garrett conspired to spread vicious, false rumors about her in her Atlanta neighborhood and her Indian community, and that they falsely accused the victim of theft to local authorities, reported the victim's illegal status to federal authorities; and falsely accused the victim of engaging in terrorism-related activities to the Department of Homeland Security.
The charging documents further alleges that Russell Garrett and D. William Garrett made false statements to the Department of State to obtain a visa for the victim in which they attached documents showing that they were in law enforcement, namely, for Russell Garrett, a photocopy of his Forsyth County Sheriff's Office Badge, and, for D. WILLIAM GARRETT, a photocopy of his Certificate of Training from the Georgia Magistrate Courts Training Council; that Malika Garrett made false statements to the Department of Homeland Security to obtain a visa extension for the victim; and that she made false statements to the Department of Homeland Security and to the Department of Justice, claiming that the female victim should be investigated for possible terrorism.
"This case should resonate loud and clear throughout our immigrant community," said Kenneth Smith, special agent-in-charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Atlanta. "ICE will continue to aggressively identify and assist victims of human trafficking and apprehend and present for prosecution those engaged in trafficking offenses."
"This case is an example of alleged domestic servitude of a nanny brought over from India. This type of abuse is insidious, as it preys upon those who are vulnerable due to their immigration status and unfamiliarity with this country's legal system," said David E. Nahmias, United States Attorney. "Not paying someone for their hard work, and then threatening them with deportation if they report such abuse, is a violation of federal civil rights laws. The Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute this form of modern day slavery."
If convicted, Malika Garrett, Russell Garrett and D. William Garrett face a maximum penalty of 60, 50 and 10 years in prison respectively. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
The public is reminded that the indictment contains only allegations.
The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Susan Coppedge, and Trial Attorney Kathleen J. Monaghan, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.