Thursday, October 29, 2020

Union County Man Charged with Additional Counts of Coercing and Enticing Victims for Purpose of Prostitution

 NEWARK, N.J. – A federal grand jury today indicted a Union County, New Jersey, man for allegedly persuading, inducing and enticing numerous female victims, usually commercial sex workers, to travel in interstate or foreign commerce to engage in prostitution and other sexual acts, often by use of force, violence and threats, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Jose Torres, 43, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was charged in a second superseding indictment with his fifth and sixth counts of coercing and enticing commercial sex workers, and will be arraigned on those counts on a date to be determined. Torres was originally charged by complaint in February 2020 with two counts of coercing and enticing commercial sex workers. On May 29, 2020, he was indicted on three counts, including a third count involving another victim. On July 31, 2020, he was indicted on a fourth count involving another victim.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From May 2015 to October 2019, Torres persuaded, induced and enticed female victims, often commercial sex workers, to travel from various out of state locations, including Canada, New York, and Pennsylvania, in order to engage in prostitution with him. In each instance, Torres lured a female victim to New Jersey with promises of large payments. In three of the previously charged instances, when the victim asked for payment, Torres became aggressive, often assaulting and raping victim. Torres never paid the women. The two recently charged counts involve allegations that in December and November of 2015, Torres lured Victim-5 and Victim-6, respectively, to travel from New York to New Jersey to engage in prostitution.

The coercion and enticement charge carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 fine for each count.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emma Spiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations against Torres are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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