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Millionaire Gets 11 Years For Slave Labor

A judge has given an 11-year prison sentence to a millionaire who inflicted years of abuse on two Indonesian housekeepers held as virtual slaves in her Long Island mansion.

Varsha Sabhnani, who also was born in Indonesia, was convicted with her husband in December on a 12-count federal indictment that included forced labor, conspiracy, involuntary servitude and harboring aliens.

Prosecutors said the Sabhnanis forced two poorly educated Indonesian housekeepers to work 18 or more hours a day in their Muttontown mansion for little food or money. One of the women testified she was forced to eat dozens of chili peppers, and then eat her vomit when she couldn't keep them down, according to CBS station WCBS-TV.

She also said she was scalded, stabbed and made to take freezing showers - all for perceived transgressions, including stealing food from trash cans because she was so hungry.

During their trial, the Sabhnanis had been free on a $4.5 million bail package that included strict conditions of house arrest featuring armed security guards - paid for by the couple.

After their conviction, Spatt revoked Varsha Sabhnani's bail, ruling that she had been the one who inflicted the physical punishment on the housekeepers. Mahender was permitted to remain free, in part to allow him to make arrangements for the care of the couple's four children, who are in their teens and early 20s.

Prosecutors said he was charged with the same crimes as his wife because he allowed the conduct to take place and benefited from the work the women performed in his 5,898-square-foot Muttontown home on Long Island's Gold Coast.

The sentencing for the defendant's husband will be Friday.

Defense attorneys have said they intend to appeal the convictions.