TWO MEN CONVICTED OF LURING WOMEN TO SOUTH FLORIDA, DRUGGING THEM, RAPING THEM, FILMING THE RAPE, AND THEN SELLING THE RECORDED FOOTAGE ONLINE AND AT PORNOGRAPHY STORES
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Keith F. Dunn, Chief, Miramar Police Department, announce the jury verdict in the case of United States v. Lavont Flanders Jr., and Emerson Callum. Both defendants Lavont Flanders, Jr. and Emerson Callum were found guilty of all charges against them. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for February 16, 2011 before the U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore.
More specifically, the jury found defendant Lavont Flanders, Jr., 40,of Miami Gardens, guilty of all eighteen counts in the indictment, including enticing and conspiring to entice the women to South Florida, knowing that fraud would be used to cause the women to engage in commercial sex acts. Flanders was also convicted of five counts of distributing benzodiazepines, a date rape drug, to the women.
The jury also convicted defendant Emerson Callum, 45, of Miami, of the fourteen counts in which he was charged, which included enticing and conspiring to entice the women to South Florida, knowing that fraud would be used to cause the women to engage in commercial sex acts. Callum was not charged with distributing the benzodiazepines.
At the trial, seven different women victims, all aspiring models from around the country, testified that they had been contacted online by a female model. In fact, however, the purported female model was actually defendant Flanders pretending to be a woman. In this way, Flanders contacted the victims about purported modeling auditions in Miami. After the victims provided their phone numbers, they would receive a call from a purported modeling scout - again, defendant Flanders - who claimed to represent large, multi-national companies, like Bacardi, Sony, or Paramount Pictures. Flanders told the victims that he liked their "look" and offered them a supposed role in an audition in Miami.
According to the trial evidence, when the victims flew to Miami, Flanders instructed them to do an audition for a commercial. During this purported audition, the victims were asked to promote and drink different brands of alcohol while he filmed. Unbeknownst to the victims, the alcoholic beverages Flanders provided them was laced with benzodiazepines, a common date rape drug. Once the drugs had taken effect, Flanders drove the victims to Callum, who had sex with the victims while Flanders filmed them. Flanders and Callum then edited, produced, and sold the footage of the sex acts over the Internet and to pornography stores and businesses across the country.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the Miramar Police Department. Mr. Ferrer would also like to thank the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Hollywood Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Pembroke Pines Police Department, the Miami Gardens Police Department, and the Prince George's County Police Department in Maryland for their assistance in this investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Roy Altman and Barbara Martinez.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.