Leader of Sex Trafficking Ring Sentenced to 60 Years in Federal Prison, Ordered to Pay Over $14 Million in Restitution
MIAMI – A South Florida federal district judge has sentenced William D. Foster, 50, to 60 years in prison for running a sex trafficking organization for more than 20 years that exploited dozens of vulnerable women and girls. The judge also entered a $3.4 million forfeiture money judgment against Foster and ordered him to pay over $14 million in restitution to his victims.
At any given time, up to 15 women and girls lived with, and worked for, Foster. Through manipulation, lies, and threats, Foster forced his victims to work at South Florida exotic dance clubs and engage in commercial sex. Foster told the victims that he would invest their earnings so that they could retire in their 20s, which was not true. Foster coerced victims into working eight-hour shifts, six days a week, every week of the year and kept all their money.
He used psychological coercion and violence to keep victims in line. If a victim wanted to buy things like food, clothes, or personal hygiene products, she first had to get permission from Foster. He required many of the victims to go on liquid diets, get unsafe weight loss surgeries, and take anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medications without proper diagnoses. Foster often had sex with victims, some of whom were minors.
If a victim attempted to leave, Foster would threaten financial ruin and other harm. If a victim left, she left with nothing.
Foster expanded his operation beyond South Florida. He transported victims to other states including New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Nevada, for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.
Law enforcement officers recovered one of Foster’s victims out of a Detroit hotel room after she called the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Foster tried to grow his business by starting a website (Foster’s Care) that promised to help human trafficking victims. His plan, however, was not to save anyone, but to lure them into his commercial sex business.
Foster pled guilty in March to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking; sex trafficking of a minor; sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud, and coercion; five counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion; two counts of sex trafficking by fraud and coercion; conspiracy to transport individuals for purposes of prostitution; two counts of transporting individuals for prostitution and a money laundering conspiracy.
Two of Foster’s co-conspirators -- Ashleigh Holloway, 37, and Hanah Chan, 32 – pled guilty in the Southern District of Florida to bank fraud charges in connection with the operation. They are scheduled to be sentenced on October 11.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Robert M. DeWitt, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami; and Anthony Salisbury, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office announced the sentence imposed yesterday by U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal.
FBI Miami and HSI Miami investigated this case. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica Kahn Obenauf and Brooke Elise Latta. Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Stone is handling the asset forfeiture aspects of the case.
To report suspected human trafficking or to obtain resources for victims, please call 1-888-373-7888; text “BeFree” (233733), or live chat at HumanTraffickingHotline.org. The toll-free phone, SMS text lines, and online chat function are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Help is available in English, Spanish, Creole, or in more than 200 additional languages. The National Hotline is not managed by law enforcement, immigration or an investigative agency. Correspondence with the National Hotline is confidential and you may request assistance or report a tip anonymously. To learn more about the hotline, visit www.humantraffickinghotline.org.
To learn more about the U.S. Department of Justic’s efforts to combat human trafficking visit www.justice.gov/humantrafficking.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 19-cr-20804.