Two South Carolina Men Charged with Hate Crimes for Bias-Motivated Armed Robberies Targeting Hispanic Victims
Contact Person: Jim May (803) 929-3000
Columbia, South Carolina ---- Acting United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Samuel Pratt, a/k/a “Promise,” age 34, of Gastonia, North Carolina, was found guilty on 8 counts related to sex trafficking, child pornography and firearm charges in federal court in Columbia. United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten of Columbia presided over the four-day trial and will impose sentence on Pratt after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at trial established that the defendant ran a prostitution business of both adults and juveniles, in South Carolina, North Carolina and New York. The trial opened a window into the seedy world of human trafficking in the Carolinas. Witnesses provided extensive testimony about the manipulation and abuse, as well as the inner-workings of the sex trafficking operation. Two of the victims were recruited at 14 and 17. This was the first jury verdict in South Carolina related to human trafficking. The defendant’s mother, Daphne Pratt, previously plead guilty to conspiracy to sex traffic children in the case.
Ms. Drake stated, “Sex traffickers prey on those in our society who are most vulnerable. This case is a great example of how law enforcement at the state and federal level, working together, can bring these predators to justice.”
The maximum penalty for five of the counts is life. The case was investigated by agents of the FBI, the ATF, and the US Marshals. Assistant United States Attorneys Jim May and Will Lewis of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.