POUND RIDGE AUTHOR charged with LAbor trafficking AND





Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore announced that Joseph Yannai (DOB 03/06/44) of 309 Salem Road, Pound Ridge, New York was arraigned today on a three count complaint charging him with:


  • one count of Sex Abuse in the First Degree a class “D” Felony,
  • two counts of Labor Trafficking in the Second Degree, class “D” Felonies.


On December 26, 2008, a series of email exchanges began between one victim and the defendant, during which the defendant pretended to be a young woman and his former employee.


The victim is a twenty one year old Hungarian citizen who sought employment in the United States through a website for au pairs. She received an email regarding a job as a personal assistant for a sixty four year old businessman.  


Over the course of several weeks, the terms of employment were described to her which provided two employment options, a live out option involving payment of $2,000 a month or a live-in option where all her expenses would be paid and she would receive a $20,000 bonus at the end of the year.


On February 18th, 2009, the victim arrived in New York and was taken by the defendant to his home at 309 Salem Road. Soon thereafter she was advised that her personal phone calls and emails would be limited. She was not provided any spending money or access to transportation.


Also present at the home was a second victim, a Brazilian national who had been working at the location for a period of time.


After about a week the real rules of the house were revealed to the first victim, in which the defendant threatened and coerced the victims to perform sexual favors.  


Additionally, while at the defendant’s residence, the first victim observed photos of Yannai with numerous other women in the defendant’s bedroom and learned that there had been six or seven other girls from various other countries who had worked in his Pound Ridge residence. 


Prior to leaving Hungary, the victim had established email contact with another Hungarian national who resides in Pound Ridge.


On March 11, 2009, after surreptitiously contacting that person the victim was assisted in escaping 309 Salem Road and filing a report with the Pound Ridge Police Department which commenced an investigation.   


Bail was set at $100,000.


Yannai’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 22nd, 2009.


He faces a maximum of seven years in state prison on the top counts in the complaint.


Second Deputy District Attorney Audrey Stone, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Division, will prosecute the case.





In compliance with Disciplinary Rule 7-107A of the Code of

Professional Responsibility, you are advised that a charge is

merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed

innocent until and unless proven guilty.