BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., announced that ERICK BANKS, age 31, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pled guilty today before Chief United States District Court Judge Brian J. Jackson to one count of conspiracy to traffic a child in the commercial sex trade. BANKS faces a sentence of up to life imprisonment, five (5) years of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000. The sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.
At today’s hearing, BANKS admitted that on or about January 27, 2011, he enticed the victim, a 15 year old girl, to engage in acts of prostitution. Several days earlier, on or about January 20, 2011, the victim ran away from a Baton Rouge home for teenage girls. BANKS placed several ads on an online service often utilized by those in the commercial sex trade. BANKS used the moniker “Sinsational” or “Blonde Bunny” to describe the victim in the ads. BANKS instructed the victim how to engage in telephone conversations with potential customers and how to determine if a customer was a law enforcement officer.
On or about January 27, 2011, in five separate transactions, the victim engaged in sexual activity in exchange for money. Each of these transactions were coordinated by BANKS and occurred in a hotel in Baton Rouge. The victim was paid approximately $1,200 to $1,800, all of which she gave to BANKS.
U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., stated, “We will continue to be committed to uncovering and prosecuting anyone despicable enough to traffic young teenage victims in the commercial sex trade. We appreciate the strong work of the FBI in this case, and we also commend the Middle District Human Trafficking Task Force for its efforts in educating law enforcement and the public in general about combatting this heinous crime.”
This investigation was conducted by FBI Special Agent Teneka Harris and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Frederick A. Menner, Jr. and Susan Amundson.