WASHINGTON – Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights; David E. Nahmias, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; Gregory Jones, FBI Special Agent in Charge; and Richard Pennington, Chief, Atlanta Police Department (APD), today announced that Jimmie Lee Jones, also known as “Mike Spade,” 32, of Stone Mountain, Ga., was sentenced to serve 15 years on federal charges of conspiring to engage in sex trafficking and transporting young women across state lines for purposes of prostitution.
Jimmie Jones’ 15-year prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release. Jones was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $60,600 to six victims.
“This case shows that human trafficking can occur anytime, anywhere, and against any vulnerable victim, including U.S. citizens and college students,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to rescuing victims of human trafficking and ensuring that those who commit these crimes are brought to justice.”
“Defendant Jones’ sentence sends a clear message that those who traffic in people will be harshly punished,” said U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias. “Defendant Jones preyed on numerous young American women who fell for his fraudulent ‘modeling’ scheme, signed contracts in which they owed the defendant money, then were forced and coerced into prostitution to pay back the contracts. The case broke when two victims were brave enough to come forward and report Jones’ crimes to APD, whose human trafficking task force worked closely with the FBI in bringing justice to the victims.”
According to court documents, from 2000-2005, Jones conspired to force six victims, identified only by initials, to engage in commercial sex acts through force, fraud and coercion. Additionally, Jones caused two juvenile victims to engage in commercial sex acts, knowing that the victims had not reached the age of 18 years. Jones lured and recruited the minor and adult victims into prostitution with promises of legitimate modeling or exotic dancing work and used physical violence, threats of violence, deception, and other forms of coercion to compel the victims to work as prostitutes. Jones pled guilty just after his trial began in August 2007.
Numerous victims were on hand for the sentencing and testified that Jones caused them to engage in sex acts, including oral sex and vaginal intercourse, with himself and others, by striking them and threatening to beat them. One victim submitted her statement to the court, outlining the abuse she suffered at the hands of Jones and stating that Jones was “a cruel and manipulative man whose life revolved around the sexual, emotional, physical and psychological exploitation of young women.” She stated that her life was devastated and that she even considered suicide on more than one occasion to escape Jones’ brutality.
Human trafficking prosecutions such as this one are a top priority of the Department of Justice. In the last seven fiscal years, the Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, has increased by nearly seven-fold the number of human trafficking cases filed in court as compared to the previous seven fiscal years. In FY 2007, the Department obtained a record number of convictions in human trafficking prosecutions.
The case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and officers of the Atlanta Police Department, Human Trafficking Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Karima Maloney and Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Coppedge.