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Press Release

Scranton Man Admits Role In Sex Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a 26-year-old Scranton man pleaded guilty yesterday before Senior U.S. District Court Judge James M. Munley to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Jimmy Cantelmo admitted to conspiring with his brother, Sean Cantelmo, and others to persuade a minor to engage in prostitution during February through August 2014.

The sex trafficking activity involved placing photographs of the minor along with ads in the adult “escort” section of a website; renting motel rooms in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties where the prostitution activities occurred; purchasing and providing condoms for the minor to use during commercial sex acts; and serving as security or “bodyguards” at the motels where the commercial sex acts took place.

Jimmy Cantelmo was indicted by a federal grand jury in Scranton in April 2015, as a result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Pennsylvania State Police. Four persons have been charged in connection with the investigation. Sean Cantelmo previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 151 months in prison. Justin Strait pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

Judge Munley scheduled sentencing for November 18, 2015. Cantelmo faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a potential maximum sentence of life in prison. Cantelmo remains detained in prison pending sentencing.

Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Francis P. Sempa.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty under federal law is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated December 18, 2015

Human Trafficking