- Category: News
- Created on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:35
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
Jose J. paid Romanian and Polish asparagus pickers as little as €5 an hour and kept them in filthy, unsafe conditions on her farm in north Brabant while deducting food and lodgings from their wages.
After she was jailed in October for two and a half years, including six months suspended, the state began proceedings to reclaim money lost from undeclared earnings.
Authorities spent the four years between 2005 and 2009 investigating J. after she was found to be employing immigrant workers without papers.
Police found 40 workers, mostly Romanians, living on site in a windowless space with no protection against fire. They said they refused to leave the farm for fear of having their wages docked.
In May 2009 a team of researchers travelled to Poland, Romania and Portugal to gather evidence about J. and her business in the village of Someren.
A 28-year-old Romanian man was also arrested in Someren on suspicion of collaborating with Janssen.
The local mayor, Alfred Veltman, said at the time: “It was more like a form of slavery than a modern business.”
The court in Den Bosch was told that her team worked a total of 13,000 hours in 2009 alone, but she only filed for 6,000 hours, amounting to €48,900 in income that she should have declared.
The figure for the two previous years came to €70,257. After deductions for compensation already paid the total came to €111,879.
J.’s lawyer argued in court that the amount should be reduced to recognise the effects of losing her business, which has shut down.
However, judges were also told that she had considerable amounts of money stashed away in foreign bank accounts.