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Justice News

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Woman Charged In White Plains Federal Court With Sex Trafficking Of A Minor

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 Donald B. Smith, Putnam County Sheriff, announced today that JENNIFER COVIELLO was arrested for the sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girlCOVIELLO was presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith in White Plains federal court this afternoon. 


Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “Jennifer Coviello coerced a child to engage in commercial sex acts for Coviello’s profit, introducing the minor to illegal drugs, and fostering a drug dependency in the process.  Today’s arrest takes an allegedly dangerous woman off the street and is a testament to the continued cooperation between our federal and local law enforcement partners to combat the exploitation of children in our communities.”


FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “There are simply no words to express how despicable human behavior can be at times, and in law enforcement we see a lot of lows in human behavior.  But for a woman to allegedly sell an underage girl for sex is too much to understand.  The FBI agents and law enforcement officers who investigate these cases each day should be truly commended for their work, and their dedication to save these children from adults who put them in harm’s way just to make a dollar.”


Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith said:  “My office is grateful to the U.S.  Attorney’s Office and the FBI for their diligent work in helping to put an end to this deplorable case, stopping the victimization of a young woman and bringing the perpetrator to justice.  This case is yet another example of how effective law enforcement can be when local agencies, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office all work together to fight crime and to help keep Putnam County and the Hudson Valley safe.”   


According to the allegations in the Complaint[1] filed in White Plains federal court:


In December 2017, COVIELLO posted online advertisements soliciting prostitution customers for herself and the victim (“Victim-1”).  When COVIELLO received inquiries in response to the advertisements, she emailed and sent by text message photographs of Victim-1, including nude and partially nude photographs.  For approximately a week, COVIELLO operated her commercial sex business out of a motel in Putnam County, where she arranged for customers to meet her and Victim-1 to engage in commercial sex acts in exchange for cash.  During that week, COVIELLO provided Victim-1 with illegal drugs, including heroin, and arranged for Victim-1 to misrepresent to customers that she was over 18 years old.  COVIELLO kept the bulk of the profits from the commercial sex acts.


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COVIELLO, 43, is charged with one count of sex trafficking of a minor, 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 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.


The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force with the assistance of the Putnam County Sherriff’s Department.  Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the Putnam County Sherriff’s Department.  


This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorney Jacqueline Kelly 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 charged offenses set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 
Updated December 19, 2017