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Slavery in America Dead? Not Quite -- N.Y. Millionaire Annie George Accused of Keeping Woman as 'Slave' for Six Years

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By iDigitalTimes Staff Reporter on March 7, 2013 10:03 AM EST 0

millionaire accused of slavery
Annie George, a N.Y. millionaire is accused of slavery. She testified Tuesday that she didn't know she was keeping an undocumented immigrant in her 26-room mansion. (Photo: Creative Commons)

An Indian woman has come forward and accused her millionaire N.Y. employer of keeping her as a slave for over five years.

According to a testimony by Valsamma Mathai in a New York court on Tuesday, her employer, Annie George, from upstate New York, had kept Mathai as a virtual slave over the last 10 years, forcing her to cook, clean and serve as nanny and maid for a meager $15 a day. During her time in George's service, Mathai was not allowed to contact her family, talk to any visitors in the house, or leave the property at all.

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Of course in an expansive 26-room mansion encompassing over 30,000 square feet, you would think Mathai would have plenty of room to move around.

Shockingly however, the woman was kept as a slave by the millionaire and her family. Her only space was a walk-in closet where Mathai slept on the floor. Mathai was expected to work seven days a week, 12 hours a day.

So how did Valsamma Mathai get into this mess of being kept as a slave to begin with?

Well the story began as it does for many an undocumented immigrants, just looking for a new start in a new land. Valsamma Mathai had heard of the job from Mathai George, the late husband of Annie George and also a native of India. George had been a successful businessman who built a hotel and real estate development business in the United States. He was unexpectedly killed in a private plane crash along with his 11-year-old son in 2009.

Prior to this, however, the woman who now accuses the millionaire family of keeping her as a slave, came to New York from India and met George's late husband Mathai George at a new York bus station where he offered her a job that would pay $1,000 per month in his home. At the time Mathai was making only $100 a month.

When she arrived at the family's home, however, the situation quickly changed. Though surrounded by a beautiful mansion environment, complete with an indoor pool in the shape of a boat and heated driveway, the woman lived as a slave, catering to every whim of the family.

In 2011 however, after the woman's son contacted National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline with a tip that his mother was being kept in a "forced labor situation," the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), freed Mathai. It seems when The DHS came to release Mathai, the millionaire George, accused of keeping the woman as a slave, tried to hide her in the basement of the mansion.

George testified Tuesday in an Albany New York court, with tears in her eyes saying that she had no idea that Valsamma Mathai was in the United States illegally and insisted that the woman, kept as a slave was never mistreated in any way during the five and a half years in the family's service.

George told prosecutors she had no knowledge of her husband's business affairs, as her role was to be a wife and mother to their six children. She claimed severe punishment would occur her if she interfered in the running f the home in any way.

George now faces the charge of harboring an undocumented immigrant and could see a fine of $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison if she is found guilty.

It seems this is not the only trouble the George family may be in. A business associate of the Late Mathai George claims Mathai left a number of unpaid debts, including six hotels in bankruptcy or foreclosure.

Thursday, the closing arguments will be heard in the case of the N.Y. millionaire, George, accused of keeping a slave.

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