- Harmanpreet Singh and Kulbir Kaur allegedly used coercive means to force the victim to provide labor and services at the gas station and convenience store they operated in North Chesterfield.
An Indian American couple has been charged with conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor, alien harboring for financial gain, and document servitude, along with fraud-related charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a press release. Harmanpreet Singh and Kulbir Kaur operated a gas station and convenience store in North Chesterfield, Virginia, the press release said.
Singh 30, and Kaur, 42, forced the victim — Singh’s cousin, to provide labor and services at Singh’s store, the press release said, citing documents filed in court. The victim was made “to work as a cashier, prepare food, and manage store records,” the press release added.
According to the Department of Justice, the indictment alleges that Singh and Kaur used “various coercive means, including confiscating the victim’s immigration documents and subjecting the victim to physical abuse, threats of force and other serious harm and, at times, degrading living conditions, to compel him to work extensive hours for minimal pay.” It further alleges that “the defendants harbored the victim after his visa expired for financial gain and committed bankruptcy-related fraud offense.”
The charge of forced labor carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, up to five years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and mandatory restitution. “A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors,” the DoJ said.