Arlington, Virginia - An indictment was unsealed Friday in federal court following the arrests of Zahida Aman, 77, Mohammed Naumann Chaudhri, 51, and Mohammed Rehan Chaudhri, 45, all of Midlothian, Virginia. The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy, forced labor, and document servitude.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger Eastern District of Virginia and David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office made the announcement.
According to the allegations set forth in the indictment, between March 2002 and August 2014, the defendants conspired to force the victim, who had been married to Aman’s son, to provide labor and services at their Midlothian home, to include cleaning the house, painting the house, and mowing the lawn. The indictment further alleges that the defendants subjected the victim to physical, psychological, and verbal abuse, withheld her food, restricted her communications with family and neighbors, confiscated her immigration and identification documents, limited her access to her own children, and threatened to separate her from her children, among other coercive means.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty. If convicted of forced labor, the defendants face sentences of up to 20 years in prison, as well as mandatory restitution.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Richmond Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Heather Mansfield for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorneys Vasantha Rao and Maryam Zhuravitsky for the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.