A Cambodian woman who was accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a couple who illegally trafficked her was found not guilty.
Sophy Treadway was indicted on felony theft charges for allegedly stealing more than $60,000 from Rockport Donuts owners Matthew and Sopheak Otero in Rockport City, Texas, in 2019. On Aug. 17, Treadway was found not guilty of felony theft in Aransas County.
She previously filed a human trafficking lawsuit in August 2019 against the Oteros, claiming that she was forced to work at the donuts shop for 112 hours every week for a salary of $75 per month. However, the shop owners previously denied the accusations and dismissed them as Treadway’s form of revenge for being reported to the police for stealing.
Matthew claimed Treadway to be his wife’s niece. He admitted to paying $20,000 for a visa to bring Treadway from Cambodia to Rockport, but said they were not forcing her to work long hours or holding her against her will.
The federal court sided with Treadway and awarded her $1.78 million in the human trafficking lawsuit in April. The Oteros then filed to appeal the case in June.
“I’m glad that the case is over and that the Rockport owners can no longer use that as a scapegoat to say that they’re not guilty of human trafficking,” Xenos Yuen, one of Treadway’s attorneys, reportedly said of Treadway’s recent acquittal.
The money Treadway was accused of stealing was her tips from customers, according to Yuen. Jurors also learned that the shop’s bookkeeper was a partial owner who had no accounting experience. Moreover, a Rockport Police Department officer testified that they did not have a qualified forensic auditor to determine theft.
The Oteros’ attorney has not commented on Treadway’s acquittal.
Featured Image via Kris 6 News