A man and woman living in Wapello County have been sentenced to two years in federal prison for coercing two men from Micronesia to work in an Ottumwa meatpacking plant.

A federal judge has ordered the couple to pay nearly $70,000 in restitution to the victims. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the couple are citizens of Micronesia and U.S. residents who recruited two young men from Micronesia to come to Ottumwa to work, telling them they could send money back to their families in Micronesia.

The couple pleaded guilty to withholding the workers’ passports and confiscating most of their wages. A deputy in the U.S. Justice Department says the defendants callously exploited the victims and used their power over them to profit from their hard work at the Ottumwa plant.

Radio Iowa