Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Two plead guilty to harboring an alien for financial gain


December 21, 2017

Tonia Copeland/Western Nebraska Observer

Kimball County Sheriff's Office personnel assisting the Department of Homeland Security and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the Nebraska State Patrol at the local Super 8 motel on Thursday, March 30.

Two managers of the Kimball Super 8 motel pled guilty in federal court in Omaha to harboring an unlawful immigrant for financial gain and conspiracy, according to federal authorities.

Vishnubhai Chaudhari, 50, and Leelabahen Chaudhari, 44, of Kimball pled guilty to the charges on Monday, Dec. 18, following their arrest on March 30, 2017.

According to court documents the two admitted to holding an Indian national at the local motel from October 2011 to February 2013, when the unnamed victim escaped with the help of local law enforcement and a motel guest.

Prior to the escape, the victim was forced to work long hours, seven days a week, at the motel performing duties such as cleaning rooms, shoveling snow and doing laundry. Though pay was promised, the defendents claimed instead to apply those wages to a debt the victim owed.

Not allowed to leave the motel, the victim was isolated and abused, verbally and physically, according to a recent press release.

At the Monday hearing, upon changing their pleas to guilty, the defendents paid the victim $40,000 in restitution.

The defendents face a possible sentence of up to 18 months in prison, according to their plea agreements, and they are expected to be removed from the United States when their sentences are completed. Sentencing is scheduled for March 19, 2018.


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