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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Upper Marlboro, Maryland Couple Sentenced To Prison For Harboring A Filipino Woman In Their Home For More Than 10 Years

Ordered to Pay the Victim Restitution of $369,580.80

Greenbelt, Maryland - Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Gloria Edwards, age 61, to a year and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and sentenced her husband, Alfred, age 74, to three months in prison, followed by seven months of home detention as part of two years of supervised release, for harboring a Filipino national whom they brought to the United States under false pretenses. As a condition of their supervised release, the defendants are prohibited from contacting or harassing the victim in any way. Chief Judge Chasanow also ordered the Edwards’, both of Upper Marlboro, Md, to pay restitution of $369,580.80 to the victim. The sentence was imposed late on May 7, 2013, and the amount of restitution was announced today.

The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Roy L. Austin, Jr.; and Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Alfred and Gloria Edwards compelled the victim to work for them for a decade for little or no salary,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “They were able to maintain control over the victim by bringing her into the United States under false pretenses, holding her passport and arranging for a sham marriage.”

According to their plea agreements and testimony presented at their sentencing, in October 1998, the couple arranged for the victim to enter the United States from the Philippines under false pretenses. Gloria Edwards paid $5,000 to cover the costs of the woman’s entry into the United States, including payment to another individual to secure the woman’s visa under false pretenses. The Edwards’ knew that the woman entered the United States without disclosing the true purpose of her visit, or that she would be residing at the Edwards’ residence. The woman arrived in the U.S. in May 1999. Gloria Edwards drove the woman to the Edwards’ home in Upper Marlboro, where the woman primarily resided until she left the residence in August 2009.

The woman provided low cost labor to the Edwards as a domestic servant and provided care for Gloria Edwards’ mother. According to testimony at the sentencing hearing, the Edwards’ took the woman’s passport and made the woman sign a contract stating that she would have to pay the Edwards’ $20,000 if she were to leave their service, so that they could replace her.

The Edwards’ admitted that during the more than 10 years that the woman was in the United States, they took steps to fraudulently obtain permanent resident status for the woman, including arranging a sham marriage.

Prior to sentencing the Edwards’ paid $6,716.20 to satisfy the disputed amount relating to allegations that they misappropriated funds.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Baltimore Division of the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. Austin thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley and Trial Attorney Cindy Chung of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, who prosecuted the case.

Updated January 26, 2015