NY woman gets probation in illegal maid case

Jul 9, 2013, 6:19 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – A hotelier’s widow in upstate New York was sentenced Tuesday to five years’ probation, including eight months of home confinement, for keeping an Indian woman in the country illegally.

Annie George was convicted in March of harboring the household servant illegally at her stone mansion in rural Rexford, 15 miles northwest of Albany. She was acquitted of keeping the woman for financial gain, though prosecutors alleged she owed Valsamma Mathai $317,000 for 5 1/2 years of work while Mathai said she was paid only $26,000 that was mostly sent to her family in India.

U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe also ordered George to forfeit the 20,000-square-foot mansion as a financial penalty. He imposed a harsher sentence on the 41-year-old woman than either defense or prosecutors requested because she lied in her trial testimony, he said.

“This is not the crime of the century. Even more so, the jury acquitted you of the most serious charge,” Sharpe said. He acknowledged the difficulties she’s facing raising five children and that she has no criminal history, but he said her testimony aggravated him. “You lied about some of the details and you tried to hoodwink the jury,” he said.

Defense attorney Mark Sacco, who requested only a fine and no home confinement, said afterward that he’ll appeal both the conviction and the mansion seizure.

“She’s proclaimed her innocence so we’ll appeal the case,” Sacco said. The issue of truthful testimony came from a garbled tape with different voices on it, produced by the maid’s son in India, and George denied it was her voice, he said.

She didn’t initially hire the maid and was left with the situation after her husband and oldest son died in a 2009 plane crash, he said.

Authorities estimated the mansion’s value at $1.9 million and his client owns about 10 percent, Sacco said.

George was to begin serving the home confinement sentence immediately, Sacco said, and the mansion seizure will be halted during the appeal process.

George declined to make a statement in court or comment to reporters afterward.

George could have faced a maximum five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Federal prosecutors recommended eight months of home detention, 200 hours of community service, two years of probation and a $20,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Belliss in court papers said George deserved a harsher penalty under federal guidelines than the defense sought because she tried to obstruct investigators in 2011. While knowing her servant was in the U.S. illegally, George kept her even after her husband died because it was convenient and probably cheaper than hiring someone legally, he wrote.

Sharpe agreed, saying the obstruction also reflected trial testimony.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Tom Cruise gestures for photographers during the red carpet event to promote their latest movie Top...
Associated Press

‘Elvis,’ ‘Top Gun’ tie for box-office crown with $30.5M each

"Elvis" shook up theaters with an estimated $30.5 million in weekend sales, but -- in a box-office rarity -- it tied "Top Gun: Maverick."
20 hours ago
In this photo released by the Longmont Police Department the Life Choices building in Longmont, Col...
Associated Press

Police investigating fire at Colorado pregnancy center

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) — A weekend fire at a Christian pregnancy center in north-central Colorado is being investigated as a possible arson, police in Longmont said. The fire at Life Choices was reported at 3:17 a.m. Saturday, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and said abortion laws would be decided by […]
20 hours ago
The Very Rev. Kris Stubna, rector of St. Paul Cathedral Parish, preaches on the topic of abortion a...
Associated Press

After Roe’s demise, clergy lead faithful in praise, laments

Praise and lament for the overturning of abortion rights filled sacred spaces this weekend as clergy across the U.S. rearranged worship plans or rewrote sermons to provide their religious context — and competing messages — about the historic moment. Abortion is a visceral issue for deeply divided religious Americans. Some are sad or angry in […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Average US gasoline price drops 4 cents to $5.05 per gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline fell by 4 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $5.05 for regular grade, it was reported Sunday. It was the first drop in nine weeks and came with a drop in oil prices amid deepening global inflation fears, industry analyst Trilby […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Newspaper: Oklahoma gun deaths rose as firearms access grew

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gun deaths in Oklahoma have increased since a “permitless carry” law allowing people over the age of 21 to carry a gun without a permit or training went into effect in 2019, according to a newspaper’s review of data. The Oklahoman analyzed state medical examiner data and found that Oklahoma has […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Bosnian Serb member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia Milorad Dodik watches military ex...
Associated Press

Bosnian Serb leader prays for Trump’s return, praises Putin

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The leader of Bosnia’s Serbs said Sunday he hoped former U.S. President Donald Trump would return to power and that the Serbs would “wait for appropriate global circumstances” to reach for their goal of seceding from Bosnia, which he called an “unsustainable state.” Milorad Dodik, who was a rare European official […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
NY woman gets probation in illegal maid case