October 11, 2023
NEWARK, N.J. – In a significant development, a Middlesex County, New Jersey, man has been found guilty of four counts of persuading, inducing, and enticing women to travel in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. This conviction was announced by U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, who highlighted the severity of the charges.
The defendant, Jose Torres, aged 45, has been convicted on all four counts of a second superseding indictment after a rigorous six-day trial presided over by U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Newark federal court. The evidence presented during the trial, as well as the documents filed in the case, revealed a pattern of criminal behavior.
According to the case documents and trial evidence, from May 2015 to October 2019, Torres engaged in the reprehensible practice of persuading, inducing, and enticing female victims, particularly those involved in commercial sex work, to travel from out-of-state locations such as Canada and New York to New Jersey for the purpose of engaging in prostitution with him. Torres meticulously scoured prostitution websites, specifically targeting out-of-state sex workers. Using promises of substantial payment, he lured these women to New Jersey. However, once they arrived, he callously refused to compensate them for their services. Disturbingly, when the victims confronted Torres about payment, he resorted to aggression, often resorting to physical assault and rape.
Each charge of coercion and enticement carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, along with a fine of up to $250,000. The sentencing has been scheduled for February 27, 2024, during which the court will determine the appropriate punishment for the defendant.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger expressed his gratitude towards the dedicated efforts of the special agents from the FBI, led by Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, and the special agents from Homeland Security Investigations Newark, led by Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Kurtz. It was their relentless investigation that ultimately resulted in today’s guilty verdict, ensuring justice for the victims of Torres’ heinous crimes.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emma Spiro and Shawn Barnes, representing the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Newark, have been instrumental in prosecuting this case, skillfully presenting the evidence and securing the conviction.
This conviction serves as a strong message that the perpetrators of such heinous crimes will be held accountable for their actions. The justice system, along with the collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies, aims to protect vulnerable individuals from exploitation and ensure their safety and well-being.
Counsel: David Schafer Esq., Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and Linwood Jones Esq., East Orange, New Jersey
Past FBI Press Release:
August 14, 2020
The FBI, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, appeals to the public for assistance in identifying potential victims of an alleged sexual predator who preyed on sex workers, subjecting them to physical rape, assault, intimidation, and fraud. The suspect, Jose Torres, a 43-year-old individual, is currently under federal custody, facing four counts of coercion and enticement in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Torres, known for his extensive travel history, is believed to have committed these offenses in various locations across the country, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, and California. Over the past decade, he has targeted sex workers, using various websites such as EROS, Erotic Monkey, Tryst, and Backpage to locate his victims. Torres enticed these women by offering substantial sums of money, gradually grooming them to engage in sex trafficking activities under his command. Often, the victims were required to travel across state lines at their own expense to meet Torres.
If you suspect that you may have fallen victim to Torres or have been solicited by him, please reach out to the FBI at [email protected]. While your response is voluntary, it can greatly aid the ongoing federal investigation by identifying you as a potential victim. Based on your response, the FBI may contact you for additional information.
The FBI is committed to identifying victims of federal crimes and providing them with the necessary support, information, and resources. Your cooperation can help bring justice to those who have suffered at the hands of this predator.
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