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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Sex Trafficker Lavelleous Purcell, a/k/a “King Casino,” a/k/a “Mike Hill,” Sentenced To 18 Years In Prison In Manhattan Federal Court

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that LAVELLEOUS PURCELL, a/k/a “King Casino,” a/k/a “Mike Hill,” was sentenced today by United States District Judge Denise L. Cote to 216 months in prison for sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, and other related offenses.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Lavelleous Purcell, a violent and notoriously brutal predator, used physical violence and intimidation to force women into sexual servitude for his financial enrichment.  Appropriately, Purcell has now been sentenced to surrender his own freedom for many years.”

According to the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, previous court filings, and statements made at public proceedings:

From at least in or about 2012 to in or about 2017, LAVELLEOUS PURCELL, a/k/a “King Casino,” a/k/a “Mike Hill,” the defendant engaged in the sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of numerous women across the country, including in New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.  The defendant recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, and maintained women for the purposes of commercial sex, and he used violent force, threats of force, coercion, intimidation, and fear to force at least one woman to engage in commercial sex for his own profit.  For example, the defendant strangled and choked certain of his victims, he hit and threatened to hit certain of his victims, and he kidnapped certain of his victims. 

The victims of the defendant’s prostitution business were required to follow a strict set of rules, which the defendant enforced through threats, fear, intimidation, and violence.  The defendant’s rules required his victims to:  make money for the defendant through prostitution, give the defendant all money earned from any commercial sex acts, call the defendant “Daddy,” not speak to men other than the defendant, not look at any men other than the defendant, not talk back to the defendant, not disrespect the defendant, not have boyfriends, not wear sneakers or loose-fitting clothing, and brand themselves with a tattoo bearing the defendant’s alias, “Casino,” on their necks. 

The defendant recruited women to engage in commercial sex through social media websites, and he used Backpage.com, an online classifieds website, to post advertisements for commercial sex.  The defendant also booked various rental cars and hotel rooms to transport women across state lines to engage in commercial sex.  Meanwhile, the defendant boasted about the violence he used against women and his prostitution of women through social media posts, phone, text, and online communications, and in person. 

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In addition to his prison sentence, PURCELL, 40, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

Mr. Berman thanked the FBI and the NYPD for their outstanding investigative work in this matter.  Mr. Berman also thanked the New York County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance with this investigation. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Sheb Swett, Jane Kim, and Margaret Graham are in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
19-010
Updated January 22, 2019