Massachusetts couple admits to underpaying immigrant for 13 years, report says

A Massachusetts couple pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Boston federal court to charges that they paid an immigrant less than $3,000 over a 13-year span for doing a host of household chores and for long hours, The Boston Globe reported.

Martha Smalanskas, 48, and Richard Smalanskas, 49, reached an agreement with prosecutors to pay the victim $150,000 in restitution and serve a year probation, the report said. They pleaded guilty to charges of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, the report said.

The couple first met the woman in Bolivia when she was 16 years old and reportedly took her on as a nanny.

They were living in the country at the time, but they eventually brought her to the U.S. and helped her obtain false documentation to make it seem as though they were related, the report said.

Once in the U.S., the couple took away her travel documents and required her to work long hours, the report said, at times, paying her as little at $35 a month.  She reportedly worked from 1997 to 2011. During that time she reportedly cooked, cleaned and cared for the kids from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., six days a week.

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