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Press Release

Mount Vernon Man Charged With Sex Trafficking Of A Minor

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Rai Thomas Arrested for Sex Trafficking of a Female Minor Victim at Hotels in the Bronx and Brooklyn

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the unsealing of a criminal complaint charging RAI THOMAS with sex trafficking of a minor and use of interstate facilities to promote sex trafficking and prostitution.  THOMAS was arrested this morning and will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Andrew E. Krause.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, Rai Thomas exploited a teenage girl who lived at a residential facility for vulnerable and at-risk youth, and caused her to engage in commercial sexual activity at hotels throughout the Bronx and Brooklyn for his own profit.  Thomas’s alleged conduct is particularly insidious given his minor victim’s vulnerable status and living situation.  This Office, along with our law enforcement partners at the FBI, will continue to identify, investigate, and prosecute those engaged in the sex trafficking of minors.” 

FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said:  "Human traffickers exploit at-risk teenagers, using their vulnerabilities against them. Make no mistake - these criminals are forcing children to have sex so they can make money. We are doing everything we can to help the victim in this case, but she may not be the only one. Please reach out to us at 1-800-CALL-FBI to report any information that could help ensure Thomas faces justice for his alleged crimes."

As alleged in the Complaint:[1]

In January and February 2022, THOMAS recruited Minor Victim-1 to engage in commercial sexual activity and caused her to do so on multiple occasions in hotels within the Bronx and Brooklyn, New York.  THOMAS facilitated and benefited from the scheme in numerous ways, including by recruiting and enticing Minor Victim-1 to engage in commercial sex; coordinating the transportation of Minor Victim-1 to the hotels and reserving the hotel rooms in which she engaged in commercial sex; facilitating the advertisement of Minor Victim-1 on various websites to customers for commercial sex; and profiting from the sex trafficking scheme.

There may be other victims of this alleged conduct.  If you have information to report, contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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THOMAS, 27 of Mount Vernon, New York, is charged with (1) sex trafficking of a minor, which carries a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life in prison, and (2) use of interstate facilities to promote unlawful activity, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. 

The minimum and 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 a judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, and the New York City Police Department.  Mr. Williams noted that the investigation is ongoing.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Qais Ghafary is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint 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 Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitutes only allegations, and every fact described therein should be treated as an allegation.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated July 22, 2022

Human Trafficking
Press Release Number: 22-235