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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Virgin Islands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 4, 2022

Dominican Republic National Operator of The Underground Nightclub in St. Thomas Sentenced to Six and a Half Years and Ordered to Pay Over $900,000 in Restitution

 

St. Thomas, USVI – United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced that Yohanna Gonzalez-McFarlane, 40, of the Dominican Republic, appeared before Chief District Court Judge Robert A. Molloy and was sentenced on three counts of bringing illegal aliens to the United States for financial gain and for one count of transportation for prostitution.

Chief Judge Molloy sentenced Gonzalez-McFarlane to 78 months imprisonment, followed by ten years of supervised release. In addition, the Court ordered Gonzalez-McFarlane to pay a total of $942,007 in restitution, $400 in special assessments, as well as $20,000 in additional special assessments pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015.

Chief District Judge Molloy described Gonzalez-McFarlane’s admitted conduct – recruiting and harboring vulnerable women to work as prostitutes for her financial gain – as "heinous," pointing out that her offense involved profiting from twelve different women, one of whom had been only seventeen at the time Gonzalez-McFarlane recruited her.

"Human smuggling and the intentional manipulation of vulnerable women against their will cannot be tolerated," U.S. Attorney Shappert said. "We are grateful for the hard work of our law enforcement partners who exposed this crime and brought the defendant to justice."

This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and assisted and supported by the Virgin Islands Police Department, United States Marshals Service, United States Postal Investigative Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Customs and Border Protection. Assistant United States Attorney Meredith Edwards prosecuted the case.

Updated February 4, 2022