Naperville Man Convicted of Violently Forcing Women into Prostitution
CHICAGO — A federal jury today convicted a Naperville man on sex trafficking charges for violently forcing women to engage in prostitution between 2007 and 2016.
BENJAMIN BIANCOFIORI, 38, used the promise of financial security to entice women into performing commercial sex acts on his behalf. Biancofiori often beat and punched the women, and he kept almost all of the proceeds they earned through prostitution. On one occasion, Biancofiori arranged for a victim to be returned to him at gunpoint after she tried to run away. He ran his sex-trafficking operation primarily out of his residences in the western suburbs of Chicago.
The jury convicted Biancofiori on 14 of the 15 counts against him, including conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion; engaging in sex trafficking by force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion; and obstructing, attempting to obstruct, or interfering with the enforcement of the sex trafficking statute.
Biancofiori has remained in federal custody since his arrest in May 2016. The conviction carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber set sentencing for May 30, 2018, at 9:45 a.m.
The conviction was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; and Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, the Denver office of the FBI, the Carol Stream Police Department and the Naperville Police Department. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Abigail Peluso and Erika Csicsila.
According to evidence at trial, Biancofiori lied to his victims to entice them to work for him and posted their information in commercial sex advertisements online, including the websites Backpage.com and Craigslist.com. Biancofiori also recruited multiple victims through social media. He arranged for the women to travel to meet clients at various locations throughout the United States, including in the Chicago area.
Five of the victims testified at trial about their ordeals.
Two co-defendants of Biancofiori pleaded guilty prior to trial. MARCUS WILLIS, 39, of Wheaton, and NATHAN PEREZ, 32, of West Chicago, admitted in written plea agreements that they conspired with Biancofiori to engage in sex trafficking. Judge Leinenweber will set sentencing hearings for Willis and Perez at a later date.