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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 14, 2019

Pensacola Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Charges Related To Human Trafficking In Multiple States

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – United States Attorney Lawrence Keefe, of the Northern District of Florida,
announced today that David C. Williams, 41, a Pensacola massage parlor business operator, pled
guilty to charges of using interstate facilities for purposes of racketeering, transporting females
for purposes of prostitution, harboring illegal aliens for commercial advantage or private
financial gain, and being involved in a money laundering conspiracy.

Williams was arrested by the FBI in August of this year in connection with his operation of
multiple Asian massage parlors in Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Along with the arrest of
Williams on these federal charges, over a dozen search warrants were executed at massage parlors
linked to Williams in these three states. This included multiple federal search warrants in
Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, and Gainesville, all of which are located in the Northern District of
Florida. Over half a dozen seizure warrants were also executed on bank accounts linked to Williams.

“Human trafficking is high on the list of the most heinous crimes because its perpetrators treat
people as property to be abused and monetized. Consequently, this office, and all of our law
enforcement partners, will be vigilant and diligent in the prevention, pursuit, prosecution, and
punishment of human trafficking,” stated United States Attorney Keefe.

During his guilty plea, Williams admitted operating Asian massage parlors that maintained Chinese
females illegally present in the United States who were offering sexual acts at the parlors in
return for money. The investigation revealed that Williams was using the now defunct website
“Backpage.com” to run tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of advertisements for his illicit
businesses. Records obtained from financial institutions and airlines also confirmed that
Williams paid for the travel of the Chinese females throughout the United States and, particularly, to locations where he maintained illicit massage parlors. The records from financial institutions also revealed that Williams and his conspirators laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars through bank accounts that were opened in nominee names in an effort to distance Williams from the illegal activity.

“Human trafficking is a crime that happens all around us, often in plain sight, impacting the
safety of our neighborhoods and our quality of life,” said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge
of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “When human beings are treated as commodities, they are not only
being abused physically, but emotionally and financially as well. The FBI and our law enforcement
partners will continue to collaborate at every level to disrupt and dismantle organizations
responsible for this illegal activity."

“Tracing money obtained as the result of criminal acts is the specialty of IRS Criminal
Investigation agents, and to be able to do so in the aid of victims of human trafficking is
additionally rewarding,” stated Mary Hammond, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal
Investigation’s Tamp Field Office. “Criminal enterprises such as this one are a blight in the
communities in which they operate.”

“This criminal was profiting off human lives,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in
Charge K. Jim Phillips. “Human trafficking is a complicated, intricate crime and HSI has made it a
priority to work with all our law enforcement partners to identify these perpetrators and bring
them to justice.”

Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg is prosecuting the case following a joint
investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal
Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the
Pennsylvania State Police, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s
Office, the Gainesville Police Department, the Clearwater Police Department, the Florida State
Attorney’s Office, and the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Pennsylvania.

Williams faces up to ten years’ imprisonment on charges related to transporting females for
purposes of prostitution and harboring them for financial gain. He also faces up to five years’
imprisonment for racketeering conduct and up to twenty additional years’ imprisonment for engaging
in a money laundering conspiracy. As part of his guilty plea, Williams will also forfeit over
$125,000 in currency that was seized from his massage parlor locations and related bank accounts.
Sentencing has been set for February 7, 2020, at 1:00 pm at the United States Courthouse in
Pensacola.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that
serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access
public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
Florida
website. For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of
Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Contact: 
U.S. Attorney's Office Northern District of Florida 850-216-3845 USAFLN.Press.Office@usdoj.gov
Updated November 14, 2019