CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago woman who trafficked numerous undocumented immigrants from Guatemala was sentenced today to six and a half years in federal prison.
CONCEPCION MALINEK, 50, of Cicero, Ill., pleaded guilty last year to one count of labor trafficking. From 2009 to 2019, Malinek assisted at least ten undocumented Guatemalan immigrants with illegally entering the U.S. and forced them to work to pay off their debt to her. Malinek threatened the victims with deportation and separation from their children to force the victims to continue to work and pay Malinek the debt she demanded from them.
In addition to the 78-month prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang ordered Malinek to pay $112,545 in restitution to the victims.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Labor, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and Chicago Police Department.
“Malinek controlled her victims’ every move, knowing their whereabouts at all times, the exact amount of each paycheck she stole from them, and what levers to push and pull to keep them all in line,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher V. Parente argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “Malinek knew her victims were scared of deportation and separation from their loved ones far more than they dreaded the abuse and exploitive actions she imposed on them.”
If you believe you are a victim of labor trafficking, you are encouraged to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline by calling 1-888-373-7888, or logging on to https://humantraffickinghotline.org/.