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$1mn bail ordered in human trafficking case

world Updated: Sep 09, 2010 12:13 IST

AP
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A federal judge set bail at $1 million for the CEO of a labor recruiting company accused of exploiting 400 workers from Thailand and forcing them to work on U.S. farms.

Mordechai Orian, head of Los Angeles-based Global Horizons Manpower Inc., was ordered Wednesday to be held in federal custody until he can raise the money.

KITV reports federal prosecutors claim Orian, an Israeli national, is a flight risk. They had sought to keep him in custody until his trial, and plan to appeal.

Orian, 45, is accused in what the FBI calls the largest human-trafficking case charged in U.S. history.

Three of his employees and two Thailand-based recruiters also were indicted last week.

Orian is accused of luring the workers with false promises of lucrative jobs, then confiscating their passports, failing to honor their employment contracts and threatening to deport them. He surrendered to federal authorities in Honolulu on Friday, a day after the FBI tried to arrest him at his Southern California home but found he wasn't there.

Orian's public relations agency, KLS, has said he complied with the FBI in negotiating his surrender. It issued a statement criticizing the FBI for breaking doors and windows in his Los Angeles home while he was out of town on business in Texas.