SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — A San Francisco Italian Consulate employee and his wife have been charged with turning a Brazilian woman into an indentured servant after luring her to the United States with promises of a better life.

Investigators said the couple falsely told the woman that U.S. law didn’t apply to them because they were diplomats.

Federal prosecutors charged 54-year-old Giuseppe Penzato and his 33-year-old wife, Kesia Penzato, with forced labor. The two were arrested Friday and released Monday on bond.

Giuseppe Penzato is an assistant at the consulate.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Kesia Penzato knew the woman, whose name was withheld, from when they were teenagers in Brazil.

Attorneys for the couple wrote in court papers that the dispute “is nothing more than a civil wage and hour case brought by a scheming young woman” to facilitate her goal of living in the U.S.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

Comments (6)
  1. Pietro Valuzolta says:

    here is a better graphic of the Italian Coat of Arms

  2. fred thompson says:

    Who cares about the graphic!!
    Good lord, hiding behind the diplomatic veil once again.
    I belive the Dominique Strauss Kahn tried that as well.
    Check out if the embassy employee has any unpaid parking tickets as well.

  3. A Peasant says:

    Thank goodness he can’t hide behind diplomatic immunity because he isn’t a diplomat. He’s just an embassy employee and his wife. Some people (usually with money) seem to think that they are superior to everyone else and can do whatever they want to whomever they want. Since they feel they are so much better than the rest of us, laws shouldn’t apply to them, just to the “peasants”.

  4. Karl Issel says:

    the attorney of the Italian couple has got it right, the “legal” way: the poor Italian couple are the victims, – and the Brazilian woman is the guilty party. Let’s see what a judge has to say.

  5. Dan says:

    To fred thompson & A Peasant, you are pathetic ready to make someone guilty just on what you hear, what is sad is that someone can make these horrific accusations and someones life is turned upside down. How sad for this couple to be victimezed by some scheming woman trying to make a quick buck and stay in this country. This picture speaks a thousand words. Odvious she was no prisoner when taken to fine restarants. No different than Dominique Strauss Kahn, just because he is a womanizer it doen’t make him guilty of rape. More and mored details are coming out showing the maid to be a scam artist. I’m sure more and more will come out about this case as well.

  6. Paulo says:

    Gunslinger baba that Brazil is well known here in our small town here believe she tried to politics as a councilor. was the case with several married friends. I know what I’m talking about. I know her ex-husband, poor folks. kkk,
    Surely this couple was more a victim of it.

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