No Way Out: Foreign Diplomat Defrauds Housekeeper

112612diplomat dngnkIn November, Mauritius’ ambassador to the U.S., Somduth Soborun (pictured, right), pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to pay his domestic worker the federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour).

Authorities said the worker, a Filipina national whom they identified only as C.V., came to the U.S. on a visa to work for Soborun, lived in his home with his family, and “had no opportunity to socialize outside the home” and “no way out from under him.”

“Soborun took full advantage” of C.V., said Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana W. Chen.

At one point, Chen said, Soborun verbally altered his contract, slashing her pay to $1,000 a month from $1,600, with no compensation for overtime work. The court ordered Soborun to pay $24,153 in restitution and a $5,000 fine.

“I’m very sorry to be in this position,” Soborun told U.S. District Court Judge Patty Shwartz. “I’d like to assure you that it was not, it has never been, and it will never be my intent to hurt anyone in the future.”

“He should be embarrassed for what he did,” Chen said.

Filipino Reporter, November 30, 2012- December 6, 2012

See also “Diplomatic Impunity: Trafficking Women to Embassies in the U.S.