Landlord Tortured Tenants Into Turning Over Paychecks, Police Say

A landlord in the Chicago area is accused of forcing two mentally challenged tenants into turning over their paychecks to him by threatening and physically abusing them after they began renting an apartment from him in August. Roy Estivez, 26, is charged with aggravated involuntary servitude and labor trafficking, as well aggravated criminal sexual assault, according to reports in the Chicago news media. The Calumet City, Ill., man reportedly is the first person charged under Cook County's new Human Trafficking Initiative.

<div><b class="credit">WGN-TV</b></div>

After he "threatened and beat them to get second and third jobs to work overtime," the landlord "kept the money and the victims were not allowed to keep the proceeds from any labor they performed," Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez (seen in the above video) told the media. Authorities allege that Estivez (pictured at left) used a hot butcher knive and an electrical cord to burn and whip the tenants of a South Chicago apartment, men aged 22 and 23, and sexually assaulted the younger of them with a power tool. He's also said to have intimidated his tenants into silence by claiming that he would harm their families and that he had paid off police.

The Chicago Sun-Times quoted Assistant State's Attorney Mary Anna Planey as saying that after taking their money, Estivez even refused to allow his tenants food and instead told them to scrounge for it at work. But it was at a restaurant where the 22-year-old tenant worked that Estivez's alleged crimes came to light, reported the Chicago Tribune. A manager there told the newspaper that he learned that the two roommates had identical burn marks on their faces and repeatedly questioned his employee about it until the man tearfully admitted to being a victim of torture.

Estivez's family, meanwhile, told the Tribune that they were baffled by the charges against him, with his grandfather, Tomas Estivez insisting that his grandson "likes to help everybody" and reasoning, "How can you be torturing somebody when they can go in and out whenever they want?"

More about bad landlords:
Insurance-Scamming Landlord Faces Life in Prison
Landlord on 'Worst' List Faces Jail for 30 Housing Code Violations
Alleged 'Nuisance' Landlord Eludes Authorities

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