CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney has sentenced Simone Cherelle McIllwain, 30, of Charlotte, to 235 months in prison and 20 years of supervised release for sex trafficking of a minor, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Robert R. Wells, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Chief Johnny Jennings of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
According to filed court documents and statements made in court during yesterday’s hearing, on January 1, 2020, law enforcement were notified that a 13-year-old female was a suspected victim of sex trafficking. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement determined that, from December 2 to December 25, 2019, McIllwain did in fact engage in the sex trafficking of the minor in the Charlotte area. Court documents show that the minor victim was introduced to McIllwain through a mutual acquaintance, and shortly thereafter McIllwain began to advertise the victim online for commercial sex. McIllwain also arranged for the minor to engage in sex acts at McIllwain’s hotel room and she kept a portion of the proceeds. At the time of the offense, McIllwain was on supervised release for a 2014 federal conviction in Florida, for transporting a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.
On April 19, 2021, McIllwain pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor. She is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of federal facility.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked the FBI and CMPD for their investigation of the case.
Assistant United States Attorney Erik Lindahl prosecuted the case.
If you believe you are the victim of a trafficking situation or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888. NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline, with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year related to potential trafficking victims, suspicious behaviors, and/or locations where trafficking is suspected to occur. You can also text NHTRC at 233733 or submit a tip online.