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CASE NAME:United States v. Alec Souphone Sou
ALL PLAINTIFFS:United States
ALL DEFENDANTS:Alec Souphone Sou, Mike Mankone Sou, Siew Khiong Khoo
CITATION:
DOCKET NUMBER:CR 09-00345
SOURCE:Bloomberg, DOJ/US Attorney Website or Press Release, Lexis Search, News Article
TYPE OF CASE:Criminal
RELATED CASE CITATION:
TYPE OF TRIAL:Jury
TRIAL JUDGE(S):Susan Oki Mollway
YEAR OF ARREST:2009
YEAR OF VERDICT:2011
TYPE OF COURT:Federal
STATE:Hawaii
FEDERAL DISTRICT:District Court
STATE COUNTY:
AGE OF VICTIM(S):Adult
NUMBER OF VICTIMS:44
GENDER OF VICTIM(S):Female and Male
VICTIM'S COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:Thailand
METHOD OF ENTRY INTO THE U.S.:H-2A visa
WAS VICTIM CHARGED WITH A CRIME:No
NUMBER OF DEFENDANT(S):3
GENDER OF DEFENDANT(S):Male
TYPE OF INDUSTRY:Labor
CASE CATEGORIZATION:Agricultural Industry
FIRST CHARGE:Forced labor conspiracy
FIRST CHARGE US/STATE CODE CITATION:18 U.S.C. § 371; 18 U.S.C. § 1589(a)
FIRST CHARGE VERDICT/PLEA:Dismissed
FIRST CHARGE SENTENCE:
SECOND CHARGE:Forced labor.
SECOND CHARGE US/STATE CODE CITATION:18 U.S.C. § 1589(a); 18 U.S.C. § 1594(a); 18 U.S.C. § 1594 (2)
SECOND CHARGE VERDICT/PLEA:Charge Dropped
SECOND CHARGE SENTENCE:
THIRD CHARGE:Document servitude
THIRD CHARGE US/STATE CODE CITATION:18 U.S.C. § 1592
THIRD CHARGE VERDICT/PLEA:Charge Dropped
THIRD CHARGE SENTENCE:
FOURTH CHARGE:Visa Fraud Conspiracy
FOURTH CHARGE US/STATE CODE CITATION:18 U.S.C. § 371; 18 U.S.C. § 1546(a)
FOURTH CHARGE VERDICT/PLEA:Charge Dropped
FOURTH CHARGE SENTENCE:
FIFTH CHARGE:Harboring for Financial Gain
FIFTH CHARGE US/STATE CODE CITATION:8 U.S.C. § 1324 (a)(1)(A)(iii); 8 U.S.C. § 1324 (a)(1)(B)(i)
FIFTH CHARGE VERDICT/PLEA:Charge Dropped
FIFTH CHARGE SENTENCE:
CORE TERMS:
SENTENCING OPINION CITATION:
LENGTH OF GREATEST SENTENCE:
RESTITUTION REQUIRED:
FINE IMPOSED:
FORFEITURE IMPOSED:
FIRST CLAIM:
FIRST CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
FIRST CLAIM RESULT:
DAMAGES AWARDED FOR FIRST CLAIM:
SECOND CLAIM:
SECOND CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
SECOND CLAIM RESULT:
DAMAGES AWARDED FOR SECOND CLAIM:
THIRD CLAIM:
THIRD CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
THIRD CLAIM RESULT:
DAMAGES AWARDED FOR THIRD CLAIM:
FOURTH CLAIM:
FOURTH CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
FOURTH CLAIM RESULT:
DAMAGES AWARDED FOR FOURTH CLAIM:
FIFTH CLAIM:
FIFTH CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
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SIXTH CLAIM:
SIXTH CLAIM US/STATE CODE CITATION:
SIXTH CLAIM RESULT:
DAMAGES AWARDED FOR SIXTH CLAIM:
TOTAL AWARD:
APPEAL:No
EXPLANATION OF APPEAL:
APPELLATE OPINION CITATION:
HOLDING OF APPEALS COURT:
APPEAL STILL PENDING?:
SUMMARY:The Sou brothers allegedly conspired with co-defendant Khoo in Thailand to induce impoverished Thai nationals to travel to the US and work on a farm owned by the Sou brothers. Pursuant to the conspiracy, the Sou brothers arranged for visas for the workers under the U.S. Department of Labor seasonal and temporary agricultural worker program (the H-2A program). According to the Indictment, the Thai nationals would take out bank loans to finance a recruitment fee (approx. $15,000 to 22,500 USD), loans which were secured by the nationals' family property and land. These loans were to be re-paid from the workers' earnings. If the workers ran away, they faced penalties on the loans up to $1,000,000.00 USD. Once the nationals arrived in Hawaii to work on the farm, their passports and visas were confiscated, they were confined to a dormitory and told they could not leave and if they attempted they would face physical harm and possibly be sent back to Thailand where they would be subject to debilitating economic consequences arising from fees associated with repayment of the loans. The workers were allegedly isolated and kept behind locked fences and were forced to work long hours for minimal pay and allegedly forced to live and work in deplorable conditions. The charges against all Defendants were voluntarily dropped by the federal prosecutor in the midst of a jury trial. The prosecution attributed the motion for dismissal of all charges to the discovery of new evidence. At the hearing on the motion to dismiss, the lead prosecutor stated she had inaccurately quoted the applicable law during the grand jury proceedings, stating that workers couldn't be charged recruiting fees when the Thai nationals traveled to Hawaii in 2004. The federal forced labor law was changed in 2008, after the alleged wrongdoing took place, to prohibit recruiting fees.
Approval Status:Approved
Approver Comments:
            
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