CHICAGO—A Taiwanese official who pleaded guilty to mistreating two housekeepers brought over from the Philippines to work in her Missouri home will soon be deported, a judge ruled Friday.
Liu Hsien-hsien, director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, Missouri, was arrested in November for allegedly treating her Filipino housekeepers like slaves.
She reached a plea deal with prosecutors that allowed her to avoid spending up to five years in prison if convicted of the single charge of fraud in foreign labor contracting.
But she was required to remain in jail until a federal judge had time to review the plea deal and a presentencing report.
Judge Greg Kays sentenced Liu to time served on the fraud charge and ordered her to pay $80,044 in restitution to the housekeepers.
She must also pay a fine of $11,040 to cover the full cost of her incarceration and deportation and will remain in jail until escorted to Taiwan by US immigration agents. A time for the deportation has not been released.
The case came to light after one of the housekeepers sought help from a Filipino man she met at a grocery store.
She told him that Liu had taken away her passport, barred her from leaving the house without permission, made her work 16 to 18-hour days at a quarter of the agreed wages, monitored her with video cameras and restricted when she could sleep.
Liu also allegedly told the woman that if she “acted out, she would be deported” because Liu was “friends with local law enforcement and well known in the community,” charging papers said.
The other housekeeper “went into a state of depression and stopped eating” as a result of the physical and verbal abuse, prosecutors said, citing testimony by an unnamed witness who worked as a director at the Kansas City office.
The two housekeepers were certified as “victims of a severe form of human trafficking” and will receive government support for a visa that would allow them to legally remain and work in the United States, prosecutors said.