Maryland woman sentenced for conspiracy to commit involuntary servitude and harboring an illegal alien for financial gain

14-Year-Old Nigerian Girl Brought to U.S. and Held Against Her Will

Via Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

GREENBELT,
Maryland –
Dr. Adaobi Stella Udeozor, age 46, of Darnestown, Maryland
was sentenced today to 87 months in prison followed by 3 years of
supervised release for conspiracy to commit involuntary servitude and
harboring an alien for financial gain, announced United States Attorney
for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Assistant Attorney
General for the Civil Rights Division Wan J. Kim. As part of her
sentence, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte also ordered Udeozor to
pay restitution to the victim of $110,250.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein stated, “This
prosecution vindicates the important principle that we do not tolerate
slavery or involuntary servitude in America.”

“Too often human traffickers bait young girls with promises of the
American dream only to then force them into involuntary servitude,”
said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights
Division. “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that this form of
modern day slavery will not be tolerated.”

“The acts committed by this individual — holding a child as a
slave, beating her, threatening her with arrest — were more than
criminal, they also exemplified the special evil implicit in the abuse
of children,” said Mark Bastan, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the
Baltimore office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“This type of violence make it difficult for victims to come forward on
their own and underscores why ICE agents approach human trafficking
cases with such vigor.”

On November 18, 2004, Stella Udeozor was convicted by a federal jury
of conspiracy and harboring an alien for financial gain, after a six
week trial. According to the evidence presented at her trial, Udeozor
and her husband, George Udeozor, held a 14 year old girl from Nigeria
in their Maryland home from approximately September 1996 to October
2001, forcing her to work for little or no pay, as well as physically
assaulting her.

Testimony showed that the couple induced the young girl to come to
the United States by promising that she would be paid and be allowed to
attend school. Witnesses testified that the victim was never sent to
school or paid. Evidence showed that Udeozor verbally accosted and
physically punished the victim on a regular basis for purportedly not
doing her work correctly.

In addition to constantly yelling at and insulting the victim, the
defendant slapped her, punched her, hit her with a shoe and a stick,
twisted her ear and pulled her hair. Udeozor further threatened that
the victim would be arrested and sent back to Nigeria if she left the
home because authorities would discover she had no “papers.”

The jury also returned three special findings relating to
sentencing, concluding that the victim was held in a condition of
involuntary servitude for over one year; that the offense of harboring
an illegal alien was committed during the offense of involuntary
servitude; and that the defendant knew or should have known that the
victim was a “vulnerable victim.”

George Udeozor, age 49, is a fugitive and has not yet been tried in this case. He is currently facing extradition from Nigeria.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Department
of Justice, United States Attorney’s Office and U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement for their investigative work performed in this
case. Mr. Rosenstein also praised Assistant United States Attorney
Mythili Raman and trial attorney Amy Pope, of the Criminal Section of
the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, who prosecuted the case.

— ICE —


U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was established in March 2003
as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland
Security. ICE is comprised of four integrated divisions that form a
21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a
number of key homeland security priorities.

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