Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Human trafficking workers likely won’t get restitution money
by Larry Geller
I suppose there is a logic to this.
Attorney Eric Seitz filed motions in federal court yesterday asking that $196,000 that was to be used to pay restitution to the victims of human trafficking in the Aloun Farms case be returned to the defendants.
The monies paid into the Court by the Defendants are now needed in order to pay for the Defendants’ attorneys fees and costs to defend themselves in an anticipated trial of this case.
The money was to go to farm workers, many of whom mortgaged their property back in Thailand to pay recruiting fees of the order of $20,000. If the loans are not soon repaid, many will lose their own or their family’s homes and farms.
Yes, if the court approves the motion, the money will likely go instead to the attorneys for legal fees.
The restitution was part of the plea agreement thrown out Thursday by Judge Susan Oki Mollway. It is available to be repaid, should the court agree, because of delays paying the money to the court and then unexplained delays by the court in cutting the checks to the workers. Had the payments been made on schedule, it’s likely they would not have been retrievable.
Read one of the motions here.