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San Diego siblings sentenced for forced labor scheme involving cousin

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Posted at 3:44 PM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 18:44:56-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — A brother and sister who pleaded guilty to federal charges for coercing their cousin to work long hours at a pair of Rancho Bernardo salons the siblings owned have been sentenced to three months each in prison.

Cindy Mydung Luu, 55, and Jason Luu, 47, both of Tierrasanta, were sentenced Monday in San Diego federal court for bringing the victim from Vietnam to San Diego and forcing her to work long hours at Eden Nails Lounge & Spa and Majestic Nail Salon, prosecutors said.

The victim -- identified in court documents only as "LX" -- was forced to work up to seven days per week, up to 12 hours per day and was required to forfeit all of her income, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

After LX obtained her nail technician's license, the defendants told her to quit college and work full time at the salons, prosecutors said.

The defendants also arranged for her to take part in a sham marriage with Jason Luu so LX could become a legal permanent resident in the United States, then withheld her green card from her, according to prosecutors, who stated that the siblings then threatened LX with the loss of her immigration status if she didn't work at the salons.

In a defense sentencing memorandum, the Luus' attorneys wrote that the victim sought the defendants' help in getting to the United States, and the Luus agreed to take her in and sponsored her education to earn her nail technician's license. Her marriage to Jason helped her stay in the country and helped Jason "fulfill his family's expectation that he would settle down and marry," the attorney wrote.

But though the Luus started out with "good intentions," the defense attorneys wrote that the situation "mushroomed into something untoward and worse. (The victim) had to work too much, was paid too little, and her activities were controlled, with the threat of sending her back to Vietnam."

In addition to custody, the pair were ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution, according to court records.