A Concord couple are accused of bringing an African girl into their home 18 years ago and illegally keeping her in the country while paying her little to work at their house and hair braiding salon.
Eugenie Moyhe N’Dr Zie and her husband, Priva Desire Zie, are charged with conspiracy to harbor an alien and harboring an alien for financial gain.
Eugenie Zie, known as Moyhe, was the owner of Moyhe’s Hair Braiding and Weaving on Church Street in Concord, as well as another location on Central Avenue in Charlotte, according to an indictment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court. She also owned a hair braiding salon in Queens, N.Y.
Court documents say Moyhe Zie paid for the girl to travel from the Ivory Coast to New York City around October 1994, when the girl was 9 years old. The girl, identified only as “JBAN” in court documents, cared for the couple’s child and performed other “domestic services in the home,” prosecutors said.
JBAN had traveled to the U.S. on a tourist visa that expired a year later, but she remained in the country. Court documents say Moyhe Zie and Priva Zie took her passport and visa when she arrived.
Moyhe Zie is a naturalized U.S. citizen from the Ivory Coast, prosecutors said, while Priva Zie is an Ivory Coast citizen.
Around 1995, the couple, along with JBAN, moved to Charlotte. They never enrolled her in school, prosecutors said, and Moyhe Zie instead employed the girl at her hair braiding salon in Charlotte.
The couple moved to Concord in 2011, but JBAN continued to work at the Charlotte salon. She couldn’t drive, court documents say, so the couple drove her back and forth from their home to the salon. When she worked late, she’d sometimes stay at the salon overnight.
Between 1998 and 2007, Moyhe Zie paid JBAN, who worked more than 40 hours a week, only between $50 and $150 each week, prosecutors allege. Moyhe Zie told JBAN that a supplement to her weekly income was being deposited in a bank account for her benefit, according to court documents, but that did not happen.
JBAN is now 28 years old. It’s unclear where she is or how authorities learned of the case.
As a result of the charges, according to court documents, property belonging to Moyhe Zie and Priva Zie are subject to forfeiture. Those properties include the hair braiding salon on Central Avenue in Charlotte and the couple’s home on Brockton Court in Concord.
The couple couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday evening. No one answered the phone at listings for their Concord home or either of the local salons.