Jean-Claude Toviave will serve more than 11 years in prison following Monday’s sentencing. He brought the four children to Michigan from Togo in 2006, claiming them his biological children. Instead, he forced them to work as his slaves, beating and starving them if they did not follow instructions.
Jean-Claude Toviave was sentenced Monday to 135-months in prison for bringing four children from Togo and keeping them as slaves in his Michigan home.
A former tennis pro accused of fraudulently bringing four children from the African nation of Togo to the U.S. and forcing them to work as slaves in his Michigan home was sentenced Monday to more than 11 years in federal prison.
Jean-Claude Toviave, who didn’t apologize when provided the opportunity to speak at his sentencing hearing in Detroit, also was ordered to pay two of the children $60,000 each.
Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow to sentence Toviave to the maximum sentence within the guidelines, and he did, handing down a 135-month sentence, with credit for about two years of time served.
“I can’t get a read on you,” Tarnow told Toviave. “I can’t tell if you understand what you did was really wrong.”
The four children emigrated from Togo in 2006 with fraudulent immigration paperwork that listed them as being Toviave’s biological children, which they are not.
The victims said Toviave beat them with toilet plungers, broomsticks and electrical cords and starved them if they didn’t follow his orders. They were forced to vacuum, iron, cook, clean and shine shoes at the home in Ypsilanti, near Ann Arbor, for nearly five years until January 2011.