Bond denied for Cicero woman charged in forced labor investigation

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CICERO, Ill. — A federal judge has ordered no bond for a Cicero woman who’s facing forced labor charges.

Concepcion Malinek, 49, a dual citizen of the United States and Guatemala, was arrested Tuesday after federal authorities raided her home and found 19 adults and 14 children in the basement of the 1,900 square foot house in Cicero.

According to court records, some of the people are from the same family and some are her relatives.  All are from Guatemala.

During a Thursday morning hearing at the Dirksen Federal Building, the judge denied bond for Malinek — believing she is a flight risk and that because this alleged crime occurred in her home, she could continue what she’s accused of if she’s released on an ankle monitoring bracelet.

Investigators said Malinek helped the individuals from Guatemala come to the United States and got them jobs at a Romeoville factory, then forced them to turn over most of their wages to her — threatening that if they didn’t comply, she would turn them in to immigration authorities.

A federal prosecutor believes Malinek could have received at least $120,000 cash from these individuals that was not reported to the government.

Neighbors said they would see the adults being loaded into vans in the morning to go to work and return at night.

There are also questions of whether Malinek’s husband will face charges.  He lived in the home as well, but claimed he didn’t know what was going on. The judge found that hard to believe.

Malinek could be facing a maximum of 20 years per count in this case. She will remain in federal custody until trial.

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