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2 in Indonesian Slaves Case Get Fine, Probation

Times Staff Writer

A brother and sister, convicted of conspiring to violate U.S. immigration laws by bringing Indonesians into this country and then allegedly selling them into virtual slavery, Tuesday were fined, placed on probation and ordered to pay the aliens’ passage back to their homeland.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Gadbois Jr. also ordered one of the defendants, Nasim Mussry, 57, of Beverly Hills, to pay $6,500 in back pay to nine of the 11 Indonesians, some of whom testified that they worked as domestic servants for little or no wages once they arrived here.

The Los Angeles judge also fined Mussry $20,000, placed him on five years’ probation and ordered him to stay away from any dealings with people whom he knows to be illegal immigrants.

Gadbois rejected a plea from federal prosecutors to imprison Mussry and his sister, Elsa Mussry Singman, 54, of Los Angeles, who was fined $1,000 and placed on three years’ probation.

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“I don’t see any meaningful result in incarcerating” the pair, Gadbois said, adding that the defendants were at the “bottom” of the totem pole, as far as the illegal activity was concerned.

The brother and sister were convicted of conspiracy, but the jury last month deadlocked on 10 counts involving involuntary servitude and peonage.

The two were among 10 people indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles in 1982, after FBI agents took into custody 30 Indonesians who they alleged were being held as slaves and working as servants.

Two of the indicted, David Mussry, a brother of the defendants, and Mordecai Sassoon, are fugitives. Five others pleaded guilty to reduced charges and were given probation. Charges against a sixth person were dropped. All the defendants are either Indonesian citizens or naturalized U.S. citizens.

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It was not immediately clear how many of the 11 Indonesian workers involved in the case would take advantage of a free, $718 one-way ticket home.


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