General Crime

* Mabelle de la Rosa Dann Walnut Creek real estate agent sentenced on human trafficking charges

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A Walnut Creek real estate agent convicted of forced labor and other human trafficking charges for exploiting a Peruvian nanny she had smuggled into the U.S. has been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $123,740 in restitution.Mabelle de la Rosa Dann, 46, who is a native of Peru, was sentenced on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland.A federal jury convicted Dann on Oct. 8 of forced labor, unlawful use of documents in furtherance of forced labor, harboring an illegal alien for private financial gain, visa fraud and conspiracy to commit visa fraud.U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said Dann forced the victim to cook, clean and take care of Dann’s three young sons for nearly two years between 2006 and 2008 but never paid her.Dann confiscated the nanny’s passport and led her to believe she would be falsely accused of theft if she fled, Russoniello said.In a related civil lawsuit, the nanny, identified as Zoraida Pena Canal, said she was virtually held captive and toiled under “intolerable conditions,” working 15 hours a day, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.Pena Canal said in the lawsuit that she slept on the living room floor of Dann’s apartment and that Dann barred her from watching Spanish-language television, destroyed a radio she had listened to, limited the amount of food she was allowed to eat, and severed all communication with her friends and family in Peru.Pena Canal finally escaped on April 16, 2008, according to the lawsuit. Russoniello said local residents, officials and parents at a Walnut Creek elementary school aided Canal in fleeing. In a statement, Russoniello said Dann’s sentencing “reminds each of us of the Thirteenth Amendment guarantee that we cannot be forced to work. Each of us, including those who enter the country illegally, owns our own labor. “Dann remains free on bond and has been ordered to self-surrender on June 30.The case marked first human trafficking trial in the Northern District of California, Russoniello said.

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