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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bronx Man Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Sex Trafficking Of Minors And Other Offenses

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today that JAMEL GODDARD, a/k/a “Payroll,” was arrested for his alleged role as the leader of a sex trafficking and prostitution enterprise, which exploited vulnerable minor girls and adult women.  GODDARD was charged in an Indictment with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, and sex trafficking of a minor.  GODDARD was also charged with the use of interstate facilities and interstate travel to promote a prostitution enterprise.  GODDARD will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis in Manhattan federal court this afternoon.  The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As alleged, Jamel Goddard sexually exploited and trafficked vulnerable minor girls and adult women for profit.  He used physical violence, threats, and intimidation to control his victims and force them to engage in sex work.  Along with our partners at the FBI and the NYPD, we will continue to find, investigate, and prosecute those engaged in sex trafficking.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “For Goddard to allegedly take advantage of these helpless young girls and women—­ their lack of education, stability, and history of trauma, illustrates his lack of respect and regard for the victims as human beings. They did not deserve to be used, abused, and sold for the sake of Goddard greedily filling his pockets. The FBI will continue to investigate trafficking enterprises, and we will not allow disturbing crimes of this nature to plague our communities.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment[1] filed in Manhattan federal court:

 Since at least 2012, GODDARD directed and conducted a criminal sex trafficking and prostitution enterprise (the “Enterprise”) that recruited and exploited minor girls and adult women, and then prostituted them using an online classifieds website for his own profit.  GODDARD operated the Enterprise out of motels in the Bronx and Brooklyn, New York, upstate New York, and in or around other states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Florida.

GODDARD typically recruited vulnerable minor and adult victims who lacked education, a stable home, and family support, and who had suffered past physical and emotional trauma.  He then exploited those victims’ need for shelter, stability, and affection as a means to prostitute them for his own financial gain.  Once GODDARD recruited his victims, he advertised them on classifieds websites, such as Backpage.com (“Backpage”). 

To evade detection by law enforcement, the Enterprise’s advertisements often purported to be offering individuals as escorts.  However, such advertisements often signaled that they were, in fact, offering individuals for sale for commercial sex acts through a variety of cues, including pictures of scantily-clad minor and adult women in sexually provocative poses, with coded language indicating that the people being offered would perform commercial sex acts.

GODDARD’s victims typically engaged in commercial sex with multiple customers in a single day.  Customers typically paid for commercial sex with GODDARD’s victims in cash, and the victims were able to earn thousands of dollars from commercial sex in a single day.  All or most of the victims’ earnings from commercial sex was taken by GODDARD.

GODDARD set rules for his victims, controlled their actions, and punished violations of his rules and disobedience by using physical violence.  GODDARD threatened violence and physically beat his victims for, among other things, being disrespectful, owing GODDARD money, and holding back commercial sex earnings from GODDARD. 

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GODDARD, 31, of the Bronx, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; one count of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison; one count of sex trafficking of a minor victim, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison; and one count of use of interstate facilities and interstate travel to promote a prostitution enterprise, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Any individuals who believe they have information concerning JAMEL GODDARD, a/k/a “Payroll,” that may be relevant to the investigation, or information regarding other sex trafficking crimes, should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (212) 384-1000 or https://tips.fbi.gov/, or the New York City Police Department at (646) 610-7272.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD.  Mr. Kim also thanked the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - Youth Services Unit and the New York City Administration for Children’s Services for their assistance during the investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth Hanft, Sagar K. Ravi, and Alexandra N. Rothman are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
17-245
Updated August 8, 2017