Charlotte Pimp Convicted Of Sex Trafficking Of A Minor
Defendant Committed Crimes While Registered as a Sex Offender
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A federal jury delivered a guilty verdict yesterday against Kenwaniee Vontorian Tate, 40, of Charlotte, for sex trafficking of a minor by fraud, force and coercion and sex trafficking of a minor while being required to register as a sex offender under North Carolina law, announce announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
U.S. Attorney Rose is joined making today’s announcement by Nick Annan, Special Agent in Charge of ICE/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Georgia and the Carolinas and Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).
In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Rose stated, “Tate preyed upon a vulnerable young girl, lured her into a world of sex and violence and exploited her in the worst possible way. Sex trafficking and victimizing minors for financial gain is a reprehensible crime. My office will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute sex traffickers who profit from prostituting minors.”
According to filed documents, statements made in court and evidence presented during the two-day trial:
Between September 2014 and February 2015, Tate caused a minor female to engage in commercial sex acts, namely prostitution. Tate met the victim when she was only 15 years old and became her pimp shortly after they met. Tate and the victim moved from hotel to hotel while she worked as a prostitute. Testimony at trial established that Tate controlled all of the profits from the prostitution of the minor victim and used it to support himself. Tate advertised the minor victim for sex on an Internet website and arranged sexual encounters for her. Testimony at trial also revealed that Tate slapped and hit the victim when she did not do as Tate instructed, but Tate was careful not to hit her in the face because it may affect her ability to earn money through prostitution. Trial evidence established that the sex trafficking came to an end when CMPD officers arrested Tate on February 17, 2015 while looking for a different missing minor. During that operation, CMPD officers found the minor victim hiding in a hotel closet.
Trial evidence also established that at the time that Tate caused the minor victim to engage in prostitution, Tate was registered as a sex offender in North Carolina based upon previous state convictions in Minnesota for criminal sexual conduct. Tate was also convicted previously in Minnesota federal court for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor for his involvement in a sex trafficking ring that trafficked juvenile females from Minnesota to Las Vegas, Nevada, to engage in commercial sex acts. The judge in that case ordered Tate to serve a 16-month sentence.
Tate has been in federal custody since his arrest in November 2015. At sentencing, he faces a mandatory minimum term of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison and a $250,000 fine for sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud and coercion, and a consecutive term of 10 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor while required to register as a sex offender. A sentencing date has not been set.
The investigation was handled by HSI and CMPD. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimlani M. Ford is in charge of the prosecution.