Sex Trafficker Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy
OAKLAND - Mahendar “Mike” Singh pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Oakland, California, to conspiracy to violate the federal sex trafficking law, United States Attorney MELINDA HAAG announced.
In pleading guilty before United States District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton, defendant Mahendar Singh, 40, admitted that he and a co-defendant, both formerly of Sacramento, conspired to operate a prostitution enterprise between Spring 2011 and August 2011 in Sacramento County and multiple Bay Area counties. He admitted to recruiting teenage females to provide sex services in exchange for money and drugs and to knowing that at least one of the teenagers was a juvenile. Mahendar Singh also admitted that he and his co-defendant were able to maintain their victims’ services by providing them with money, clothing, and drugs, promising them a family-like environment, and using and threatening the use of physical force. An affidavit filed in connection with this case alleged that the defendants used an Internet website to advertise their victims and employed cell phones and text-messaging to make arrangements with customers.
A federal grand jury indicted Mahendar Singh and his co-defendant on sex trafficking conspiracy charges on December 1, 2011. Mahendar Singh remains in custody and is scheduled to next appear on March 28, 2012 for sentencing before Judge Hamilton in Oakland, California. His co-defendant remains released on bond pending trial.
The maximum statutory penalty for conspiring to commit sex trafficking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1594(c), is lifetime imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, forfeiture, and restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Andrew S. Huang is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of legal assistant Jeanne Carstensen. The prosecution is the result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“HSI”), with the assistance of the South San Francisco Police Department, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, and the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit of the Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice.
Anyone who suspects instances of human trafficking are encouraged to call the FBI, HSI, or the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888. Anonymous calls are welcome.