Kizzy Kalu, a Highlands Ranch businessman originally from Nigeria who started Foreign Health Care Professionals Group, stood the first day of his trial in the Denver U.S. District Court on charges that include misuse of visas, money laundering, forced labor and trafficking in forced labor, The Denver Post reported Wednesday.
The prosecution said Kalu lured the nurses to the United States, promising they would work as instructors for a salary of $72,000 for a fictitious school, Adam University, but when they arrived, he got them jobs as nurses at long-term care facilities, and demanded they each give him up to $1,200 per month or lose their work visas.
Kalu's lawyer, Michael Sheehan, said the case will revolve around the testimony of Kalu's former partner, Philip Langerman, who has a plea bargain with prosecutors and that of a nurse, who continues to be in the United States on a visa obtained for her by a prosecutor in the case.
The jury must decide whether Langerman's plea bargain, which can lead to a reduced sentence, and the nurse's opportunity to stay in the U.S. are "enough incentive" for the two to make up charges, Sheehan said.
Sheehan said that when the visas of some of the nurses -- who had no intention of abiding by their contract with Kalu – began to be revoked, the nurses started making up stories about their employment in order to gain permission to stay in the country.