Sex Trafficker Sentenced To Nine Years In Prison
OAKLAND, Calif. – Mahendar “Mike” Singh was sentenced yesterday to nine years in prison for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.
Singh, 40, pleaded guilty on Jan. 11, 2012, to sex trafficking conspiracy. In pleading guilty, Singh admitted that he and his wife, co-defendant Helen Jean Singh (née Kearney), 22, both formerly of Sacramento, Calif., conspired to operate a prostitution enterprise between Spring 2011 and August 2011 in Sacramento County and multiple Bay Area counties. Mahendar Singh admitted to recruiting teenage girls to provide sex services in exchange for money and drugs and to knowing that at least one of the teenagers was a juvenile. He also admitted that he and his wife 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. The defendants used Internet websites to advertise the victims and cell phones to make arrangements with customers.
“Sex trafficking is a blight on our communities and, unfortunately, today’s technology makes it possible for modern day pimps to spread this blight far and wide,” United States Attorney Haag said. “My office will continue to work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to help bring an end to sex trafficking and to help ensure that the perpetrators of this criminal activity are brought to justice.”
“Today's sentence is a victory not only for the young victims of this particular case, but also for human dignity and the rule of law,” said Clark Settles, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations San Francisco. “HSI is fully committed to working with our law enforcement partners, both local and international, to combat the crime of human trafficking. We encourage anyone who suspects that human trafficking is occurring in their community to report it to authorities immediately.”
“Coercion of juveniles into prostitution is a particularly heinous crime,” said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Stephanie Douglas. “We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to target individuals engaged in such sex trafficking, and to do all within the FBI's powers to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”
The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton. Judge Hamilton also sentenced Mahendar Singh, who was and will remain in custody, to a five-year period of supervised release following his prison term. A federal grand jury indicted Mahendar Singh and Helen Jean Singh on the sex trafficking conspiracy charge on Dec. 1, 2011. Helen Singh, who is also in custody, pleaded guilty to the same charge on Jan. 18, 2012. Her sentencing date has not yet been set.
Andrew S. Huang is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of legal assistant Vanessa Vargas. The prosecution is the result of a joint investigation by U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after an initial investigation and referral by the South San Francisco Police Department and with the assistance of the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit of the Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal 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.