CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A Charlotte, N.C., woman has been accused of forcing a teenage illegal immigrant who had been placed in her home into slavery and starving him.
Prosecutors say Lucinda Lyons Shackleford forced the youth to clean yards, sell goods and alcohol, and sleep on the floor of her mobile home, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported Monday.
Shackleford, who has not been arrested, will appear in court to face charges of forced labor and document servitude, which could bring a prison term of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000 if she is convicted.
Shackleford called the accusations lies fabricated by an illegal immigrant trying to stay in the United States.
The teenager and his father, both illegal immigrants, were neighbors who asked her for help when they had immigration trouble, she said.
Authorities had placed the boy with Shackleford while he awaited a judge's decision.
"They're telling me I kept him in prison. They told me I starved a child," Shackleford said of her talks with authorities about the teen. "He's lying to immigration, all because he wants papers."
Prosecutors allege that shortly after the boy moved in in June 2009, Shackleford told him he owed her $450 and had to work to pay it off.