Monday, June 23, 2008

Ex-judge, family indicted on human trafficking charges

From Atlanta Journal-Constitution and USA Today:

A former Fulton County magistrate judge, along with his son, a Forsyth County deputy, and his son's wife, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on human trafficking charges involving a nanny from India.

William Garrett Jr., 72, an Alpharetta lawyer; deputy sheriff Russell Garrett, 43; and Malika Garrett, 42, were charged in a nine-count indictment.

Russell and Malika Garrett, who have been married since 1993 and have two children, live in Woodstock. The couple faces charges of human trafficking, alien harboring, witness tampering and making false statements.

U.S. Attorney David Nahmias the the nanny, only identified as "R.S." in the indictment, was subjected to a "form of modern day slavery." The indictment alleges that after the nanny escaped from the Garretts' Woodstock home in June 2005, the couple spread vicious rumors about her, including falsely accusing her of theft.

Malika Garrett is also charged with making false statements last year to the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department for claiming the nanny should be investigated for possible terrorism, the indictment said.

"This case is an example of alleged domestic servitude of a nanny brought over from India," Nahmias said in a statement. "This type of abuse is insidious, as it preys upon those who are vulnerable due to their immigration status and unfamiliarity with this country's legal system."
The case was brought by both the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division in Washington.

The three Garretts appeared briefly Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate E. Clayton Scofield III and entered pleas of not guilty. They were granted bond.

When Scofield asked them if they had read the indictment, William Garrett answered, "I haven't finished. But I pretty much know what's there." He faces two counts รข€” conspiring to induce the nanny to enter the United States under false pretenses and making false statements.

William Garrett Jr. was a Fulton County magistrate while most of the alleged scheme was going on. He last received pay as a magistrate in December 2005, Jessica Corbitt, public affairs manager for the county's Office of Community Relations, said in an e-mail.

Forsyth Sheriff Ted Paxton said Wednesday that Russell Garrett has been placed on administrative leave. Garrett began working at the Sheriff's Department in August 2002 and had recently been assigned to the court security division, Paxton said.

The indictment alleges that, beginning in January 2003, the three defendants conspired to induce the victim, a female Indian national, to enter the United States under false pretenses to serve as a live-in nanny for Russell and Malika Garrett's children. But the Garretts later stopped paying the nanny, curtailed her freedom, made her live in an unheated basement room and told her she could be jailed easily because she was a criminal, the indictment said.

From the DOJ's press release:

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court:
The indictment alleges that in January 2003, all three defendants conspired to encourage and induce the victim, a female Indian national, to enter the United States under false pretenses for the purpose of serving as a nanny for MALIKA and RUSSELL GARRETT's children.

According to the indictment, MALIKA and RUSSELL GARRETT later stopped paying the victim for her work as a nanny, significantly curtailed her freedom and ability to leave their home, and threatened to malign her to her family in India if she did not work for them. MALIKA and RUSSELL GARRETT compelled the victim to work in their home for up to 16 hours a day, nearly every day. The indictment further alleges that, to control the victim, MALIKA and RUSSELL GARRETT insulted her, intimidated her, and threatened her with jail and deportation. With the assistance of a neighbor, the victim escaped the GARRETTS' home.
In addition, the indictment alleges that after the victim escaped, MALIKA and RUSSELL GARRETT conspired to spread vicious, false rumors about her in her Atlanta neighborhood and her Indian community, and that they falsely accused the victim of theft to 2 local authorities; reported the victim's illegal status to federal authorities; and falsely accused the victim of engaging in terrorism-related activities to the Department of Homeland Security.

Finally, the indictment alleges that RUSSELL GARRETT and D. WILLIAM GARRETT made false statements to the Department of State to obtain a visa for the victim in which they attached documents showing that they were in law enforcement, namely, for RUSSELL GARRETT, a photocopy of his Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Badge, and, for D. WILLIAM GARRETT, a photocopy of his Certificate of Training from the Georgia Magistrate Courts Training Council; that MALIKA GARRETT made false statements to the Department of Homeland Security to obtain a visa extension for the victim; and that MALIKA GARRETT made false statements to the Department of Homeland Security and to the Department of Justice, claiming that the female victim should be investigated for possible terrorism.

If convicted, MALIKA GARRETT faces a maximum penalty of 60 years’ imprisonment; RUSSELL GARRETT faces a maximum penalty of 50 years’ imprisonment; and D. WILLIAM GARRETT faces a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

1 comment:

  1. http://justiceforgarretts.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete