A Woodbury woman whose battered, malnourished nanny was found wandering in the street will be deported to China after she spends about a year in Washington County jail.
Lili Huang, 36, was sentenced Thursday to 12 months and one day in jail, and ordered her to forfeit her home by Senior U.S. District Judge David Doty.
Huang pleaded guilty in May to “unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of forced labor.” She will serve the sentence alongside a Washington County term for third-degree assault.
“With today’s sentencing, Lili Huang must accept the consequences of committing such an egregious crime — not only financial repayment, but also the loss of liberty and property,” Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker said in a statement Thursday.
Huang’s nanny, identified in court documents as F.L., weighed just 88 pounds when police found her wandering alone in search of an airport in July 2016. She told police that she fled Huang’s home after Huang threatened her with a kitchen knife.
F.L., who previously worked for Huang in China, worked up to 18 hours daily in Minnesota and endured emotional and physical abuse when she didn’t do exactly as Huang demanded, according to prosecutors. Huang admitted to taking F.L.’s passport after she requested a ticket back to China. The nanny also had bruises, black eyes and fractures to her sternum and ribs when she was found, authorities said, and police found a bag of her hair hidden under a mattress inside Huang’s home.
On Thursday, Doty also ordered Huang to pay F.L. $95,944.80 in restitution and $27,344.73 for third-party victim services.
Ryan Pacyga, Huang’s attorney, said Huang had remorse for her behavior, and said she experienced mental health problems including psychosis, adjustment and obsessive compulsive disorders that were not being treated when she carried out the abuse. Pacyga also welcomed the chance for Huang to serve her sentence in jail rather than federal prison.
“It’s extremely rare to have a federal labor trafficking case that ends in a sentence this short, frankly — so we’re happy about that,” Pacyga said.
Alex Khu, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in St. Paul, said the sentence and forfeitures “can never fully restore all that she took from her victim, but it shows that her actions will not be tolerated in our community.”