The wife of a Saudi Arabian prince was sentenced to six months' home confinement yesterday for lying to the American government about two Indonesian domestic servants she kept at her Massachusetts home.
Hana Al Jader, 40, pleaded guilty in September to two counts each of visa fraud and harboring an illegal alien for financial gain. Prosecutors said Al Jader submitted employment contracts that said the two servants would be paid $1,400 or $1,500 a month and would work no more than eight hours a day, but the women were paid just $300 a month and required to work long hours.
A prosecutor, S. Theodore Merritt, said Al Jader also confiscated the servants' passports in order to preserve her access to inexpensive labor. "She took advantage of two unsophisticated Indonesian women," he said.
Judge Reginald Lindsay rejected a prosecution request that Al Jader be sentenced to jail. Al Jader's lawyers argued that incarcerating her would be unfair to her six teenage children and her husband, Prince Mohamed Al Saud, who was severely injured in a car accident in 1991.
In a letter asking the judge for leniency, Al Jader said she had good relations with most of her servants. "Some of them stayed with me for years, while others tricked me to obtain travel permits to the United States and for me to pay for their travel expenses. Within a few weeks and sometimes even days of arriving to the United States, these individuals would leave me with no help and it bothered me," she wrote. "I wouldn't ‘step over' somebody for my own benefit."
According to court papers, Al Jader receives an annual stipend of $100,000 from the Saudi royal family and can request additional funds when necessary. Her husband is one of thousands of Saudi men who carry the title of prince.
Judge Lindsay ordered Al Jader to pay a $40,000 fine and $206,000 in restitution to her former workers. She has agreed to be deported to Saudi Arabia once her sentence is complete.