The victims testified that they were beaten with brooms and umbrellas, slashed with knives, and forced to climb stairs and take freezing showers as punishment. U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Spatt called the testimony "eye-opening, to say the least -- that things like that go on in our country." "In her arrogance, she treated Samirah and Enung as less than people," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Demetri Jones. "Justice for the victims: That's what the government is asking for." Federal sentencing guidelines had recommended a range of 12 to 15 years in prison for Sabhnani, who was identified as the one who inflicted the abuse. In addition to prison, she will serve three years probation and pay a $25,000 fine. "I just want to say that I love my children very much," the defendant told the court as two of her grown children looked on. "I was brought to this earth to help people who are in need."
"This did not happen in the 1800s," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Lesko said during the trial. "This happened in the 21st century. This happened in Muttontown, New York." The women, whose relatives in Indonesia were paid about $100 a month -- they received no cash-- said they were tortured and beaten for misdeeds that included sleeping late or stealing food from trash bins because they were poorly fed. Both women also said they were forced to sleep on mats in the kitchen. Spatt postponed a decision on the amount of back wages owed to the women. Prosecutors suggested the women were due more than $1.1 million, while defense attorneys said the figure should be much lower. The couple also face fines and could be forced to forfeit their home, which is valued at almost $2 million. Mahender Sabhnani ran a lucrative international perfume business out of a home office there. The victims said they were beaten with brooms and umbrellas, slashed with knives, forced to climb stairs and take freezing cold showers as punishment for various misdeeds. One victim was forced to eat dozens of chili peppers against her will, and then was forced to eat her own vomit when she couldn't keep the peppers down, prosecutors said. One of the women arrived in the Sabhnanis' Muttontown home in 2002; the second came in 2005. Their passports and other travel documents were immediately confiscated by the Sabhnanis, the women testified.