Accused labor trafficker sentenced in Washington County; scheduled for federal sentencing

Body: 

A Woodbury woman will spend one year in prison before her deportation back to China for holding her maid captive and routinely subjecting her to violent abuse that cause broken bones and malnourishment.

Lili Huang, 37, maintained a low-cast gaze as Washington County District Judge John McBride read her sentence Aug. 11.

Huang faced felony charges for labor trafficking, unlawful conduct with identification documents, false imprisonment, second-degree assault with a weapon and third-degree assault after a woman described abuse she suffered during her employment at Huang’s home.

All charges but the third-degree assault were dismissed as part of a federal plea agreement in which Huang confirmed the woman's claims of abuse.

As part of her Washington County conviction, Huang must also pay $1,190 to a victim's restitution fund.

The woman, a 58-year-old Chinese national, told police Huang would beat and starve her and that Huang had at one point ripped out handfuls of the woman's hair.

The abuse culminated last July when Huang threatened the woman with a knife for spilling food on the kitchen counter. The woman, whom Huang hired as a maid and had treated well in China, escaped the home and was found wandering the neighborhood by police.

Washington County prosecutor Imran Ali said the sentence does not necessarily reflect the severity of Huang's crimes.

He told the court during the sentencing that when he met with the victim, she appeared to be very skinny and covered head-to-toe bruises with visibly broken bones— injuries that were later confirmed during a medical exam.

"We have a victim in this case who was severely beaten, injured and not from this country," he said at the sentencing. "She had no one here, couldn't speak English and had no way out."

Huang spoke minimally at the sentencing.

She offered an apology through an interpreter who assisted her at the sentencing: "I feel deep remorse for what I've done and I apologize."

Huang’s attorney, Kevin Riach, said she expressed remorse during their communications and that she looks forward to completing her sentence and rejoining her children in China.

Huang agreed to serve one-year sentences from federal and district courts concurrently. She is scheduled to sentencing in the federal case Aug. 24.