WASHINGTON—Robert Lewis Young of Detroit was sentenced today to 25 years in federal prison for running a criminal operation prostituting adults and children, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and Stephen J. Murphy, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan announced.
Following the 25-year sentence in federal prison, Young will face five years of supervised release for operating a prostitution ring spanning from Michigan to Hawaii. Young recruited and directed females – including minors – to engage in prostitution. Young transported women and children and facilitated their transportation across state lines by car and airplane. Young reaped substantial financial benefit and laundered the proceeds of his illegal prostitution activities with the help of co-conspirators.
Young’s sentencing comes after his plea of guilt to 26 offenses including sex trafficking of children, sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, transportation of a minor for criminal sexual activity, transportation for prostitution, sexual exploitation of children, possession and interstate distribution of child pornography, threatening interstate communications, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, felon in possession of a firearm, money laundering, and use of an interstate facility in aid of racketeering. In addition, Young was also convicted of producing and distributing child pornography for his use on a Web site to advertise the availability of his prostitutes including a 17-year-old-girl he exploited.
As part of his sentence, Young was also ordered to forfeit property gained through and used in furtherance of his crimes including computer equipment, furs, clothing, jewelry, electronics and cash.
Young’s co-conspirators have also been convicted of their role in the prostitution operation. Young’s Honolulu associates, Mark Luke White and Hae Sun Kim face sentencing later this year. Jeffrey McCoy, one of Young’s co-defendants pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Hawaii earlier this year. A second Detroit associate, George Abro, who laundered the proceeds and assisted in the prostitution ring, pleaded guilty to federal offenses in October 2006 and will be sentenced later this year as well. A Chicago dentist, Dr. Gary Kimmel, is under indictment and charged with financial offenses related to his support of Young's organization and is scheduled for trial in September 2007.
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI, Michigan State Police, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, IRS, the Detroit Major Crimes Task Force, the Detroit Police Department, and the Macomb County Enforcement Team.
In Hawaii, the investigation was led by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force comprised of members from the State Attorney General’s Office, the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Honolulu Police Department with substantial assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney Wes Porter of the District of Hawaii.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Kayla Bakshi of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney John O’Brien of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan and Assistant U.S. Attorney Wes Porter for the District of Hawaii. In the spring of 2003, the Violent Crimes and Major Offenders Section of FBI headquarters, in partnership with CEOS and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, initiated the Innocence Lost Initiative, designed to address the growing problem of children forced into prostitution. To date, the Innocence Lost Initiative has resulted in 275 open investigations, 697 arrests, 160 informations or indictments, and 136 convictions in the federal and state systems.