Mom of 2 Strip Searched for Paying Her Nanny $3 an Hour & Lying About It

Say What!? 20

jailYou may have heard there's a big grudge match going on between the U.S. and India right now -- and you may have thought, Meh, who cares? But the whole reason behind this unseasonable rift is surprising. A diplomat from India and mom of two says she was strip searched and jailed for allegedly paying her nanny/housekeeper only $3 an hour. So ... that's something that can happen here? The strip search for underpaying, I mean.

Okay, let's walk through this one, because it gets a leetle complicated.

India's deputy consul general in New York Devyani Khobragade was arrested (right after dropping her daughter off at school) for paying her nanny $3.31 an hour and lying about it on her nanny's visa forms. Really, it's less about the underpaying and more about the visa fraud. On paper she said she pays her nanny $4,500 a month, when really it was closer to $600 a month. In this age of terrorism paranoia? Lying on a visa is a really bad idea -- even if you're lying about how much you pay someone to watch your kids. Khobragade could face 10 years in jail for this. It's that serious.

Khobragade was released on bail, but she complains she was stuck in jail with a bunch of low-life sex workers and drug addicts. WELL YEAH, say Americans. That's who's in jail, mostly. Worse, Khobragade says she was strip-searched. That one does kind of make you squirm. A mom and a diplomat from another country was strip-searched just for underpaying her nanny and lying about it? Here's how Khobragade describes her ordeal:

I broke down many times as the indignities of repeated handcuffing, stripping, and cavity searches, swabbing, in a holdup with common criminals and drug addicts were all being imposed upon me despite my incessant assertions of immunity. I got the strength to regain composure and remain dignified thinking that I must represent all of my colleagues and my country with confidence and pride.

To make things worse, there's a huge disagreement over whether or not Khobragade should have diplomatic immunity.

So a diplomat has been denied immunity, jailed like she's Jenelle Evans or something (diplomats are considered too fancy for jail ...), and strip-searched. And that's why India is mad at us. I know you probably weren't going to lose any sleep over that last part. But doesn't it kind of give you the chills to know that lying about how much you're going to pay an immigrant to watch your kids could get you into this much trouble?

I mean, the police say a strip search is standard procedure for arrests. (Yikes, is it? Remind me to never, ever do anything illegal.) But it was probably excessive, given the context. It's not like she's going to smuggle in a nail file and a butane torch and try to escape. Then again, if we believe in treating everyone equally, and the rule is that everyone who goes to jail is subject to a strip search, why should anyone be above that rule?

Do you think lying about pay on your nanny's visa should get you into this much trouble?


Image via Noam Armonn/Spaces Images/Corbis



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nonmember avatar lilah

Boohoo to the slave owner wanna be.

nonmember avatar Ummm... DUH!!!

She LIED on a federal form. Which she knew was illegal. And also she is technically stole from the nanny because she didnt pay the nanny the amount she told the government she would.

Now whether your a heroin addict, a child molester, or someone who commits fraud: when you commit an act that is ILLEGAL, you go to JAIL. Period! And part of that is being stripped searched. Don't wanna be probed? DON'T COMMIT A CRIME!

I'm sorry but if you think what she did is fine, you should be ashamed of yourself as a person! How would you like it if the company you worked for paid you less than half of what you were promised, then lied about it on your tax forms? You would want them imprisioned.

Tyson Fricker

Totally reasonable. And the Indian goverment has behaved shamefully in response but I would expect that from a society that hasn't discovered the value of indoor plumbing.

nonmember avatar Really!

Of coarse she was strip searched. How do you think they get those lovely orange suites on.

Farrukh Baikabulov

NYPD was not involved. Diplomatic security service handed her to US Marshal Service and they processed her by their procedure.

Natalie Dorsey

Took the words right out of my mouth, Lilah!

nonmember avatar MaidService

I wonder how many illegal workers Mrs. Velez is underpaying, since she thinks these actions are completely appropriate.

Darrell A. Huff

Detaining her was fine, but I have problems with a Federal system that strip searches everyone, regardless of the potential risk that an individual poses. Anyone like this woman (both male and female) should be treated with more respect and held separate from the drug dealers and rapists. A strip search for such individuals is excessive and demeaning. In addition, the State Department personnel involved with turning her over to U.S. Marshals should have exercised more common sense and elevated this issue to a higher management level for a decision. I doubt that State Department upper management would have been in favor of turning over any foreign diplomat for a strip and body cavity search. Besides all this, we don't really have all the facts concerning the total value of the compensation for the nanny/housekeeper. For example, was this person given room and board in addition to her hourly wage? We don't know much of anything concerning the case against the diplomat. She may in fact be totally innocent of the charges (she should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty regardless of the eventual outcome of any charges against her). I have many Indian friends and $3 per hour plus room/board would be considered good compensation by most common laborers being brought here to work from India.

keelh... keelhaulrose

Darrell, it's a safety procedure on intake to a jail. Otherwise there's nothing to stop someone from committing a low-level, non-violent offense to smuggle drugs or a weapon into a jail, then be back on the street.

That's what happens when you're arrested. As the old adage goes, "don't do the crime if you can't do the time."


She lied and that's the bottom line. You do not go to NYC and lie about that kind of shit. They had their reasons.

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