Texas Couple Indicted on Forced Labor and Related Charges
Defendants Mohamed Toure, 57, and Denise Cros-Toure, 57, of Ft. Worth, Texas, were charged today in a five-count indictment with forced labor, alien harboring for financial gain, and conspiracies to commit forced labor and alien harboring, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas, and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey McGallicher of the Department of State, Diplomatic Security Services’ Houston Field Office. Defendant Toure was also charged with making false statements to federal agents. The defendants were arrested on April 26, 2018, after being charged by criminal complaint.
According to the indictment, in January 2000, the defendants arranged for the victim, then a minor child, to travel alone from her village in Guinea, West Africa, to Southlake, Texas, to work for them in their home. For more than 16 years, the Toures allegedly forced her to work long hours – demanding she handle childcare, cook, clean, and perform yardwork. Although the victim was close in age to their five biological children, the couple denied her access to schooling, medical care, and other opportunities they afforded their own children, and on several occasions Denise Cros-Toure slapped or struck her as punishment. Until neighbors helped the victim escape in August 2016, the defendants allegedly denied her any pay, isolated her from her family and threatened serious harm if she refused to work.
As part of their scheme to compel the victim’s labor, the defendants confiscated her official documents and caused her to remain unlawfully in the United States after her tourist visa expired in March 2000 and threatened to send her back to Guinea if her work was unsatisfactory.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted of forced labor, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and mandatory restitution. If convicted of alien harboring, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by Diplomatic Security Services’ Houston Field Office. It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Rebekah Bailey and William Nolan of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Wolfe for the Northern District of Texas.