United States v. Edwards, No. 19-4903 (4th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
After defendant pleaded guilty to forced labor, in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the district court sentenced defendant to 120 months' imprisonment and ordered him to pay restitution of roughly $273,000, representing unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation computed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In this case, defendant forced the victim to work at his restaurant over 100 hours per week without pay from 2009 to 2014.
The Fourth Circuit vacated the award of restitution and concluded that the district court erred in failing to include liquidated damages under the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. 216(b), for when minimum wages and overtime compensation have not been paid as required, in the restitution award. At bottom, the court concluded that the value of the victim's labor as guaranteed under the minimum wage and overtime guarantees of the FLSA includes liquidated damages provided by the FLSA. The court explained that this fulfills defendant's obligation to compensate the victim for the full amount of the victim's losses, which includes the full value of his labor. Accordingly, the court remanded for recalculation of the restitution award.