A 64-year-old Fort Worth woman is in federal custody awaiting sentencing after being convicted of bringing two Mexican women illegally into the country, then forcing them to work without pay for several years.
Olga Sandra Murra claimed to be the “voice of God on Earth,” forcing the two woman to listen to religious recordings of her reading Bible verses and discuss their meaning as they cleaned houses for her.
“She caused both women to believe they would go to hell if they did not obey her,” Kathy Colvin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office, wrote in a news release.
“Murra threatened at least one of the women that if she disobeyed her, she would contact immigration and the woman would be buried in a field with other illegal aliens,” Colvin added. “Murra also struck at least one of the women.”
Murra, who also goes by the last name of Capon-Meneses, was convicted Friday by a federal jury on two counts of forced labor and two counts of harboring an illegal alien.
She faces up to 20 years in federal prison on each forced labor count and up to 10 years on each harboring count, in addition to a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 28.
According to evidence presented in the one-week trial, Murra was born in Mexico. In 1997, she moved with her immediate family and others, including a woman in her 30s identified in court documents as V.R., to El Paso and then later Fort Worth.
In 1998, she arranged for a second woman in her 20s, referred to as I.G., to be brought illegally into the U.S.
Prosecutors said that between September 1997 and April 29, 2011, Murra kept one or both women at her various residences in El Paso and Fort Worth and took possession of their identification documents.
Forced to work for Murra’s house-cleaning business, the two women cleaned three to four houses per day up to seven days a week. They also cleaned Murra’s residence and prepared meals for the woman.
“Murra, however, did not pay either woman for this work,” Colvin stated. “In fact, Murra required the two women give her all of the money they earned cleaning houses.”
The women were forced to sleep on a bedroom floor, prohibited from talking to other residents at the home, and at times had to ask for permission to use the bathroom. When punished, the women were made to sleep in the garage, laundry room or back yard and could consume only bread and water, the release stated.
In 2001, Murra provided I.G. with false identification documents, forcing the woman to take an additional job, initially at McDonald’s and later Wal-Mart. Again, Murra took all of the woman’s earnings for herself, the release stated.
Homeland Security investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated the case.