NEW YORK – A New York writer has pleaded not guilty in an alleged scheme to lure young women from overseas into forced labor.
Joseph Yannai (YAH'-nay) of Pound Ridge entered the plea Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn. He'll remain in jail pending an Aug. 9 bail hearing.
The 66-year-old Yannai wrote a reference guide to the world's top chefs called "The International Who's Who of Chefs 2004-2005."
Federal prosecutors allege he used au pair websites to try convince his victims that he was in the publishing business and looking for an assistant. He also is facing similar state charges, including labor trafficking and sexual abuse of women from Hungary, France and Brazil.
If convicted in the federal case, he could be sentenced to life in prison and lose his home.