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Alachua County Florida Courthouse - Gainesville, Florida
Case Number: 17-cr-3
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Alachua County)
Defendant's Attorney: Daren James Johnson
Description: Gainesville, FL - Alachua County Man Sentenced to 327 Months in Prison for Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud, and Cooercion
Arthur Larange Lee Jr., 35, of Gainesville, Florida, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court in Gainesville to 327 months in prison for sex trafficking of an adult, and 60 months each for two counts of use of interstate commerce to commit prostitution. Each count is to be served concurrently. Lee was convicted following a jury trial on February 7, 2018. The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Lee abducted a young woman from the parking lot of a Gainesville church where she was attending a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. After taking the victim’s phone, he ordered her to drive to a nearby hotel where he took photographs of her for use in a Backpage.com advertisement. Lee told the victim he would “break her in,” after which he raped her, burned her, and committed other acts of violence against her. Lee then fed the victim small amounts of cocaine and instructed her that she had to pay off her “debt.” Over the span of two days, Lee forced and coerced the victim to engage in sexual acts with numerous “johns.” He kept all the money derived from the sex acts that took place at local hotels and private residences. While at one hotel, the victim texted a “john” who agreed to help her escape by picking her up outside the hotel. The victim then fled with Lee’s phone and called law enforcement officers. Responding officers were able to quickly locate and arrest Lee, who was still inside the hotel.
U.S. Attorney Canova said: “This prison sentence sends a strong message to those who would enslave vulnerable people for profit using violent and manipulative tactics to keep their victims silent. We are working as a team in Northern Florida and throughout the country to fight the evil of human trafficking and bring healing and hope to the survivors. Some of the many partners involved are prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, victim services, local coalitions, and community members.”
Sheriff Sadie Darnell said: “Human trafficking is a horrible crime which causes life-long harm to the victim survivor(s). I applaud the tenacious work by our detectives and the cooperation with the U.S. Attorney in bringing justice to this case. We will continue to work tirelessly to stop this in Alachua County.”
“The trafficking of any person is a heinous crime that is considered modern-day slavery,” said Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners are on the front lines of the fight against sex trafficking, and are working to bring hope to victims. As this case demonstrates, we encourage survivors to come forward and engage with law enforcement so we can hold accountable those responsible.”
The case was investigated by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Williams.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.
18 USC 1519 SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN OR BY FORCE, FRAUD OR COERCION
18 U.S.C. 1961RACKETEERING - PROSTITUTION
§1591. Sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion
(a) Whoever knowingly—
(1) in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, obtains, advertises, maintains, patronizes, or solicits by any means a person; or
(2) benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a venture which has engaged in an act described in violation of paragraph (1),
knowing, or, except where the act constituting the violation of paragraph (1) is advertising, in reckless disregard of the fact, that means of force, threats of force, fraud, coercion described in subsection (e)(2), or any combination of such means will be used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act, or that the person has not attained the age of 18 years and will be caused to engage in a commercial sex act, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
(b) The punishment for an offense under subsection (a) is—
(1) if the offense was effected by means of force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion described in subsection (e)(2), or by any combination of such means, or if the person recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, advertised, patronized, or solicited had not attained the age of 14 years at the time of such offense, by a fine under this title and imprisonment for any term of years not less than 15 or for life; or
(2) if the offense was not so effected, and the person recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, advertised, patronized, or solicited had attained the age of 14 years but had not attained the age of 18 years at the time of such offense, by a fine under this title and imprisonment for not less than 10 years or for life.
(c) In a prosecution under subsection (a)(1) in which the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the person so recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, maintained, patronized, or solicited, the Government need not prove that the defendant knew, or recklessly disregarded the fact, that the person had not attained the age of 18 years.
(d) Whoever obstructs, attempts to obstruct, or in any way interferes with or prevents the enforcement of this section, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for a term not to exceed 20 years, or both.
(e) In this section:
(1) The term "abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process" means the use or threatened use of a law or legal process, whether administrative, civil, or criminal, in any manner or for any purpose for which the law was not designed, in order to exert pressure on another person to cause that person to take some action or refrain from taking some action.
(2) The term "coercion" means—
(A) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person;
(B) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or
(C) the abuse or threatened abuse of law or the legal process.
(3) The term "commercial sex act" means any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.
(4) The term "serious harm" means any harm, whether physical or nonphysical, including psychological, financial, or reputational harm, that is sufficiently serious, under all the surrounding circumstances, to compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or to continue performing commercial sexual activity in order to avoid incurring that harm.
(5) The term "venture" means any group of two or more individuals associated in fact, whether or not a legal entity.
As used in this chapter—
(1) "racketeering activity" means (A) any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), which is chargeable under State law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year; (B) any act which is indictable under any of the following provisions of title 18, United States Code: Section 201 (relating to bribery), section 224 (relating to sports bribery), sections 471, 472, and 473 (relating to counterfeiting), section 659 (relating to theft from interstate shipment) if the act indictable under section 659 is felonious, section 664 (relating to embezzlement from pension and welfare funds), sections 891–894 (relating to extortionate credit transactions), section 1028 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents), section 1029 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with access devices), section 1084 (relating to the transmission of gambling information), section 1341 (relating to mail fraud), section 1343 (relating to wire fraud), section 1344 (relating to financial institution fraud), section 1351 (relating to fraud in foreign labor contracting), section 1425 (relating to the procurement of citizenship or nationalization unlawfully), section 1426 (relating to the reproduction of naturalization or citizenship papers), section 1427 (relating to the sale of naturalization or citizenship papers), sections 1461–1465 (relating to obscene matter), section 1503 (relating to obstruction of justice), section 1510 (relating to obstruction of criminal investigations), section 1511 (relating to the obstruction of State or local law enforcement), section 1512 (relating to tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant), section 1513 (relating to retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant), section 1542 (relating to false statement in application and use of passport), section 1543 (relating to forgery or false use of passport), section 1544 (relating to misuse of passport), section 1546 (relating to fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents), sections 1581–1592 (relating to peonage, slavery, and trafficking in persons).,1 sections 1831 and 1832 (relating to economic espionage and theft of trade secrets), section 1951 (relating to interference with commerce, robbery, or extortion), section 1952 (relating to racketeering), section 1953 (relating to interstate transportation of wagering paraphernalia), section 1954 (relating to unlawful welfare fund payments), section 1955 (relating to the prohibition of illegal gambling businesses), section 1956 (relating to the laundering of monetary instruments), section 1957 (relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity), section 1958 (relating to use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire), section 1960 (relating to illegal money transmitters), sections 2251, 2251A, 2252, and 2260 (relating to sexual exploitation of children), sections 2312 and 2313 (relating to interstate transportation of stolen motor vehicles), sections 2314 and 2315 (relating to interstate transportation of stolen property), section 2318 (relating to trafficking in counterfeit labels for phonorecords, computer programs or computer program documentation or packaging and copies of motion pictures or other audiovisual works), section 2319 (relating to criminal infringement of a copyright), section 2319A (relating to unauthorized fixation of and trafficking in sound recordings and music videos of live musical performances), section 2320 (relating to trafficking in goods or services bearing counterfeit marks), section 2321 (relating to trafficking in certain motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts), sections 2341–2346 (relating to trafficking in contraband cigarettes), sections 2421–24 (relating to white slave traffic), sections 175–178 (relating to biological weapons), sections 229–229F (relating to chemical weapons), section 831 (relating to nuclear materials), (C) any act which is indictable under title 29, United States Code, section 186 (dealing with restrictions on payments and loans to labor organizations) or section 501(c) (relating to embezzlement from union funds), (D) any offense involving fraud connected with a case under title 11 (except a case under section 157 of this title), fraud in the sale of securities, or the felonious manufacture, importation, receiving, concealment, buying, selling, or otherwise dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), punishable under any law of the United States, (E) any act which is indictable under the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, (F) any act which is indictable under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 274 (relating to bringing in and harboring certain aliens), section 277 (relating to aiding or assisting certain aliens to enter the United States), or section 278 (relating to importation of alien for immoral purpose) if the act indictable under such section of such Act was committed for the purpose of financial gain, or (G) any act that is indictable under any provision listed in section 2332b(g)(5)(B);
(2) "State" means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any territory or possession of the United States, any political subdivision, or any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof;
(3) "person" includes any individual or entity capable of holding a legal or beneficial interest in property;
(4) "enterprise" includes any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity;
(5) "pattern of racketeering activity" requires at least two acts of racketeering activity, one of which occurred after the effective date of this chapter and the last of which occurred within ten years (excluding any period of imprisonment) after the commission of a prior act of racketeering activity;
(6) "unlawful debt" means a debt (A) incurred or contracted in gambling activity which was in violation of the law of the United States, a State or political subdivision thereof, or which is unenforceable under State or Federal law in whole or in part as to principal or interest because of the laws relating to usury, and (B) which was incurred in connection with the business of gambling in violation of the law of the United States, a State or political subdivision thereof, or the business of lending money or a thing of value at a rate usurious under State or Federal law, where the usurious rate is at least twice the enforceable rate;
(7) "racketeering investigator" means any attorney or investigator so designated by the Attorney General and charged with the duty of enforcing or carrying into effect this chapter;
(8) "racketeering investigation" means any inquiry conducted by any racketeering investigator for the purpose of ascertaining whether any person has been involved in any violation of this chapter or of any final order, judgment, or decree of any court of the United States, duly entered in any case or proceeding arising under this chapter;
(9) "documentary material" includes any book, paper, document, record, recording, or other material; and
(10) "Attorney General" includes the Attorney General of the United States, the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, the Associate Attorney General of the United States, any Assistant Attorney General of the United States, or any employee of the Department of Justice or any employee of any department or agency of the United States so designated by the Attorney General to carry out the powers conferred on the Attorney General by this chapter. Any department or agency so designated may use in investigations authorized by this chapter either the investigative provisions of this chapter or the investigative power of such department or agency otherwise conferred by law.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 327 months in prison for sex trafficking of an adult, and 60 months each for two counts of use of interstate commerce to commit prostitution.
327 months in BOP as to Count 1 and 60 months in BOP as to Counts 2 and 3, with said terms to run concurrently with each other; 20 years supervised release as to Count 1 and three years supervised release as to Counts 2 and 3, with said terms to run concurrently with each other; $300 SMA; $5,000 restitution; defendant previously denied bond and remanded to the custody of the USM