BOSTON – A federal jury today convicted a Boston area man of sex trafficking a 16-year-old girl.
Following a five-day trial, Michael Gemma, 30, of Dorchester was convicted of using force, fraud and coercion to cause a minor to engage in prostitution and transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of prostitution. He was indicted in May 2012. Sentencing is scheduled for September 9, 2014.
The investigation into the defendant’s sex trafficking activities began in 2011 when a Trooper with the Massachusetts State Police stopped Gemma for speeding. During the stop, the Trooper recovered the 16-year-old female victim who reported that the defendant had driven her to New York and New Jersey for purposes of prostitution.
During the trial, the jury heard testimony from the trafficking victim who testified about how the defendant and another pimp took suggestive pictures of her which they used in advertisements that offered sex with her for a fee. Gemma posted those advertisements on various Internet sites including Backpage.com. Gemma and another pimp drove the minor victim and other young women to motels in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, where they were prostituted. The victim testified how Gemma and the other pimps would control the prostitutes by threatening them and, at times, beating them.
Gemma faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of a lifetime, five years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and restitution.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Special Agent in Charge Vincent B. Lisi of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston Field Division and Colonel Timothy Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leah Foley and Miranda Hooker who are members of Ortiz’s Civil Rights Enforcement Team.