FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2014
NEWARK, N.J. – An Allentown, Pa., man previously charged with sex trafficking of a minor today admitted his role in coercing women to travel from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to engage in prostitution and sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a crime, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Francisco Torrellas, a/k/a “Francisco Fordham Jr.,” “Dream,” “Daddy,” and “Pretty,” pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to Count Nine of a 10-count superseding indictment, which charged him with one count of coercion and enticement to engage in prostitution. He agreed to a sentence of 10 years in prison as part of his plea.
According to the superseding indictment and other documents filed in court:
From November 2010 to February 2013, Torrellas allegedly conspired with others to operate a prostitution business in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Torrellas managed the business, traveled, and caused prostitute employees, including a minor, to travel interstate for the purpose of engaging in sex acts in exchange for money.
Torrellas used the Internet to post advertisements for sexual services on the website Backpage.com. Torrellas also developed rules for the prostitutes, booked hotel rooms, and, while incarcerated, used the phone to manage, promote, and carry on his prostitution business, specifically causing his conspirators and others to direct the proceeds of the business to his commissary account at the Essex County Correctional Facility. Torrellas also attempted to influence, delay or prevent the testimony of another person or persons in connection with the case against him.
The conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. The Travel Act counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. The counts relating to trafficking and transportation of a minor carry a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years in prison and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The count relating to coercion and enticement to engage in prostitution carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and the count charging obstruction of justice carries the maximum term that could have been imposed for the offenses charged. The defendant also faces a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of the gain or loss from the offense for each count of conviction. Sentencing is scheduled for July 15, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; and the Secaucus, Jersey City, and the Allentown, Pa., police departments with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danielle Corcione and Jenny Kramer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Michael N. Pedicini Esq., Chatham, N.J.