A federal jury convicted Olga Sandra Murra, 64, of Ft. Worth, last Friday on two counts of forced labor and two counts of harboring an undocumented immigrant. Prosecutors say Murra forced two Mexican women to work for her cleaning business in Ft. Worth and El Paso for 14 years without pay, according to a U.S. Attorneys Office announced press release. She'll be sentenced November 28.
Prosecutors say Murra told the women she was the "voice of God on earth," and forced them to listen to recordings of her reading and interpreting Bible verses while they cleaned homes. She told the women that if they didn't obey, they were headed straight to hell. She also threatened one of the women that if she disobeyed, she would contact immigration officials and the woman would be buried in a field with other undocumented immigrants, according to prosecutors. According to the USAO, the women were forced to sleep on a bedroom floor — if they behaved. If not, Murra made them sleep in the garage, laundry room or backyard. She mainly fed the women bread and water.
During the trial, prosecutors showed that Murra and her immediate family moved to El Paso in 1997 and brought along a woman in her 30s known as "V.R." In 1998, Murra arranged for a woman in her 20s known as "I.G." to come to the United States. Both women are Mexican citizens.
Prosecutors say Murra stole the women's identification documents from them. Then, from September 1997 to April 29, 2011, they say Murra forced the women to clean four homes a day seven days a week and never paid them a cent for their work. In fact, prosecutors say Murra confiscated any money they did make. The feds say Murra also provided "I.G." with fake identification documents and made her work at McDonald's and Wal-Mart on top of cleaning houses.
In December, another federal slavery case ended in San Antonio when federal officials deported 46-year-old Hassan Al-Homoud and his 39-year-old wife Zainab Al-Hosani, citizens of the United Arab Emirates, for forcing two women, who were from Indonesia and Bangladesh, to work as servants, the USAO reported. Al-Homoud was stationed at Camp Bullis where he was attending military training and had sponsored the women for U.S. visas. He falsified documents to get the women into the states.
Their case was much like the case of the two women Murra has now been convicted of enslaving. They weren't paid, were provided limited amounts of food, and had their cellphones, passports and visas confiscated. Prosecutors said the women had been threatened with arrest and incarceration in Qatar if they didn't work for the family. The women slept on top a pallet in an apartment Al Homoud and Al Hosani's San Antonio apartment.
In April of 2015, a San Antonio Police Department officer encountered
one of the women, who was in distress, along Camp Bullis Road and discovered the nearby apartment where they were kept. But unlike Murra, Al Homoud, a high-ranking military official, was simply deported, along with the rest of his family.
The "voice of God" is facing a maximum punishment of 60 years in prison for enslaving two women she illegally brought to the U.S. to clean houses and cook for her.