A federal grand jury yesterday returned an eight-count indictment charging a Burlington County, New Jersey, couple with the forced labor and other crimes involving two undocumented individuals, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced today.
Bolaji Bolarinwa, 47, and Isiaka Bolarinwa, 65, both of Moorestown, New Jersey, are both charged with two counts of forced labor. Bolaji Bolarinwa is also charged with two counts of bringing in and harboring certain undocumented individuals and two counts of unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of forced labor. Both defendants appeared today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sharon A. King.
According to the indictment from 2015 to 2016, Bolaji Bolarinwa unlawfully obtained labor and services from one victim by means of serious harm or threats of serious harm, and from another victim by means of force or threats of force. She abused and threatened abuse of legal process against both victims. Bolarinwa’s spouse, Isiaka Bolarinwa, participated in the scheme and financially benefitted from the victims’ forced labor.
Bolaji Bolarinwa knew that both victims had entered the United States illegally and harbored them from detection for her own financial gain. She confiscated and possessed the passports and visas of both victims.
Both defendants face a maximum penalty on each forced labor count of 20 years in prison. Bolaji Bolarinwa faces a maximum penalty on each undocumented individual harboring count of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty on each unlawful document conduct count of five years in prison. They also each face a fine on each count of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Bender of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey and Trial Attorneys Elizabeth Hutson and Vasantha Rao of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.