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Press Release

Federal Judge Sentences Chicago Sex Trafficker to 30 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A federal judge has sentenced a Chicago man to 30 years in federal prison for forcing women and children to engage in commercial sex acts in the city and suburbs.

From 2012 to 2014, CHARLES FEARS and a co-defendant, SAMUEL NICHOLS, operated a sex trafficking business through which they used force, fraud, and coercion to cause multiple women and children to engage in commercial sex acts and turn over the proceeds to Fears and Nichols.  The men supplied the victims, some of whom were as young as 13 years old, with drugs and alcohol while coercing them to participate in the commercial sex acts.  Fears and Nichols often hit, slapped, and punched the victims who worked for them, including incidents in which Fears put a victim’s head into a toilet after she broke his rules.  The pair openly flaunted their roles as traffickers, flashing money in social media posts and using the trafficking proceeds to fund a Chicago-area rap group that posted music videos online.

Fears, 28, of Chicago, pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal conspiracy and sex trafficking charges.  U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall on Friday imposed the 30-year prison term for Fears and ordered that it be followed by court supervision for life.  Judge Kendall also ordered Fears to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution to the victims.

Nichols, 37, of Chicago, was sentenced in 2019 by Judge Kendall to life in prison.

Fears’s sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Carol Stream, Ill., Police Department, Downers Grove, Ill., Police Department, and DuPage County Sheriff's Office.

“Fears and Nichols controlled their victims physically and psychologically,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Streicker, Michelle Petersen, and Elizabeth Pozolo argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “It is nearly impossible to comprehend the trauma Fears inflicted on his victims.”

If you believe you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you are encouraged to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by logging on to or by calling 1-800-843-5678.  The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Updated May 16, 2022

Human Trafficking
Violent Crime