Couple to be sentenced in LA area smuggling case 

Federal prosecutors want a judge to sentence a Paso Robles couple to jail for smuggling Filipinos into California and forcing them to work in nursing homes for little or no pay.

Forty-five-year-old Maximino Morales and his wife, 48-year-old Melinda Morales, pleaded guilty in May to felony charges of conspiracy to harbor illegal immigrants. Sentencing is scheduled in Los Angeles Monday.

City News Service says prosecutors have asked for a 21-month sentence for Morales and 18 months for his wife.

As part of their plea agreements, the couple agreed to pay restitution of at least $500,000 to 10 Filipinos where were not properly compensated. Prosecutors say all the workers were forced to live in elder care facilities the couple owned. Some had to sleep in closets or unheated garages.

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