Russians Forced to Sell Ice Cream in U.S.

KANSAS CITY, Missouri -- The U.S. manager of an ice cream truck company will serve probation and pay a fine for enticing Russian students to come to Kansas City and then forcing them to work long hours for little pay.

The company, Frosty Treats, has also agreed to pay $47,000 in restitution, end its foreign-worker program for two years and pay restitution to the six college-age workers.

David Carslake, 56, a manager for Frosty Treats, was sentenced last week to probation and to pay a $5,000 fine. He also agreed to a five-year ban on using foreign workers. In the plea deal, he avoided prison and the most serious charges against him.

Authorities said managers at the company collaborated to force the Russian students to drive the trucks through neighborhoods by telling them that they would be seriously harmed if they refused.

Federal prosecutors contend that the six were forced to work about 13 hours a day, seven days a week -- all for as little as 82 cents an hour. The legal U.S. minimum wage is $5.85.

Frosty Treats said in a statement that it admitted no wrongdoing and agreed to the settlement to resolve the matter.

Prosecutors said they accepted the deal to get the Russian students more money.

Prosecutors said the Russians were promised $10,000 or more for the summer, plus travel and other benefits such as a house to be shared by three people.

Instead, they got two one-bedroom apartments for all six of them with nothing but mattresses on the floor, prosecutors said. They also had to pay to rent the ice cream trucks and pay for gas and were allowed to use a van only from work to the apartment.