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Press Release

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 21 Years for Sex Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendant Forced Multiple Victims to Engage in Commercial Sex


Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Joseph Harris, also known as “Luis Santana,” and “Joey Moscato,” was sentenced by United States District Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall to 21 years in prison for sex trafficking multiple victims by force, fraud, and coercion. 

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentence.

Mr. Peace expressed his appreciation to the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in the investigation.

From July 2017 until his arrest in May 2018, Harris used violence and threats of violence, along with abusive and coercive tactics, to compel multiple victims to engage in commercial sex acts for his financial benefit.  The defendant’s crimes were uncovered when NYPD officers responded to several 911 calls about girls being held at his apartment in Brooklyn.  Inside the apartment, the officers found two of the defendant’s adult victims along with a 16-year-old minor female, and recovered a loaded semi-automatic handgun, a birth certificate for a 17-year-old female, hotel receipts, hand-written instructions written by Harris for posting advertisements for commercial sex, and other items. 

The investigation revealed that Harris used force and threats to compel his victims to work in prostitution and give him the money that they were paid. He also punished women who withheld money from him and, in at least on one dispute over money, dragged a victim through a pool of bleach he had poured on the floor.  On another occasion, he menaced a victim at gunpoint and posted a photograph of it on his Instagram account.  Harris had sexual intercourse with his victims, including underage girls as young as 14, and provided them with drugs including ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, and pills. The defendant used and social media websites to facilitate his business. 

The federal prosecution of the defendant was led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the FBI and NYPD’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, with substantial assistance from the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. 

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Lauren Elbert and Erin Reid are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant:

Age:  41
Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-616 (LDH)


John Marzulli

Danielle Blustein Hass                            

United States Attorney’s Office

(718) 254-6323

Updated April 28, 2023

Project Safe Childhood
Human Trafficking