The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Task Force has taken down a nationwide network of prostitution that they say is connected to a complex system of money laundering through the “Flawless Escorts” website, who federal prosecutors say acted as a front organization.
<strong><span style="color:red;">Caution: Some of the images and descriptions below are highly sexualized, and not recommended for anyone under the age of 18. All images and descriptions are meant for informative purposes only.</span></strong>
The El Dorado-based ICE-HSI Task Force says that “Flawless Escorts” operated for nearly a half-decade, and now two Florida men are in custody, purported to be the ringleaders of the multi-state prostitution and money laundering circuit. You can download the<a href="https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/press-release/file/1082801/download"> now-unsealed indictment by clicking here</a>.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/c8004048bef98a21cfc4fc91bb6d6bd5a54e956ac17342e665fe66bf670bccaf.jpg" style="max-height:640bpx;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Flawless Escorts advertisement. Credit:<a href="https://reason.com/blog/2018/07/25/homeland-security-seizes-flawless-escort"> Reason</a>.</span>
42-year-old Brandon Martin, and 32-year-old Tameko Lindo, of Parkland, Florida, were brought before a federal magistrate in a Fort Lauderdale federal courtroom this past week, where the United States Attorney's Office alleges the two men ran one of the most powerful underground sex networks in the history of prosecutions for such crimes inside America.
“In just under four years, these defendants are alleged to have secured more than three thousand hotel bookings to use in the furtherance of their prostitution scheme,” said Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in charge of HSI New York. “In this case, members of HSI’s El Dorado Task Force were able to follow the money, tracking the advertising funds, payments, and movement of dollars to locate the perpetrators, and they now face prosecutions for their actions.”
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/e268fb33100238eb401f921343a9242e48074d98e784c08b366a146dbf74929e.jpg" style="max-height:640bpx;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Flawless Escorts advertisement. Credit:<a href="http://florida913.rssing.com/chan-13899671/latest.php"> NBC 6 South Florida</a>.</span>
“As alleged, Brandon Martin and Tameko Lindo ran a nationwide prostitution ring, requiring their ‘employees’ to serve as many as seven clients a day. However, the fatal flaw in Martin and Lindo’s alleged scheme was their underestimation of law enforcement’s ability to detect and halt their illicit activities,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey S. Berman.
The two men registered and operated the<a href="https://flawlessescorts.com"> www.flawlessescorts.com </a>website, which was hosted by a cloud computing service in the Southern District of New York, where they would transfer the proceeds from their illegal prostitution network into numerous bank accounts, both corporate and personal, and later use that cash to further their illicit enterprise.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/32e4ab44d1e09f5954f6c429377f2b6df6ca68bb7a777850adc433b4302d8d58.jpg" style="max-height:640bpx;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Flawless Escorts website has now been seized and shut down by the federal government. Credit:<a href="https://flawlessescorts.com"> Flawless Escorts</a>.</span>
ICE Press Release statement:
<blockquote>”As part of their prosecution business, Martin and Lindo arranged for escorts to travel throughout the United States to engage in prostitution, securing more than 3,000 hotel bookings under the names of various women. Martin and Lindo also required escorts to follow certain protocols when traveling on behalf of the Website, including an expectation that each escort would see a minimum of seven clients per day. Martin and Lindo also required escorts to deposit the proceeds of their commercial sex acts into a number of corporate and personal bank accounts that they controlled.”</blockquote>
The pair of criminals were essentially modern-day technological “pimps,” and raked in millions of illicit funds from their operations, and became reckless in doing so.
In just one transaction, the duo paid $180,000 in cash directly from one of their bank accounts to an advertising firm to generate attention for the prostitutes who were sold on their website.
This illicit operation resulted in thousands of sales across the nation, spanning from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, where the alleged ringleaders continued to employ thousands of prostitutes they would advertise via the Flawless Escorts website.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/24b187e23933fb8808a981184fe8f971081f20f39d949df042cbb38e18ad6b04.jpg" style="max-height:640bpx;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit:<a href="https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/manhattan-us-attorney-announces-money-laundering-charges-against-operators-nationwide"> Department of Justice</a>.</span>
Federal investigators say that the website was designed to show either partially nude or fully unclothed women in various sexual positions, with a bio describing their interests and hobbies; of which allowed their clientele to pick a specific type of prostitute per hour or night.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/b45c97e74fe419422ecd0959f3494ca11b094b43e1dee355c22892861d3f40c4.jpg" style="max-height:640bpx;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit:<a href="https://eros.com"> Eros.com</a> website.</span>
The “adult entertainment” industry is also connected to the Flawless Escorts service, with a Homeland Security raid having occurred in Youngsville, North Carolina, at a sex-call center ran by Bolma Star Services Inc, located on 51 Flex Way, which also serves as the corporate headquarters of the major pornography industry company,<a href="https://eros.com"> Eros.com</a>, which is one of the most active pornography video and image websites in the world.
<iframe src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d3227.1230286251243!2d-78.51988268473191!3d36.0172889801174!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x89ac52fef5d8a0e3%3A0x355f3d12b7cdce9b!2s51+Flex+Way%2C+Youngsville%2C+NC+27596!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1532886277229" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0" style="border:0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
They set out to be the world's number one website," Maxine Doogan, founder of Sex Workers and Erotic Service Legal Educational and Research Project (ESLERP), explained to the<a href="http://abc11.com/adult-entertainment-industry-abuzz-after-federal-raid/2625072/"> Local ABC Affiliate Channel 11 I-Team</a>. "They pick every nook and cranny, any small rural town in America and across the globe."
Doogan also claimed that she has personally worked “with hundreds of sex workers who advertise on Eros,” for various services such as “erotic dancing, fetishes, and escorts,” who are now in fear that the website will also be seized by the government.
“Any loss of income is going to affect their ability to take care of themselves, pay their rent, or help their children," Doogan stated.
The United States Attorney's Office has since confirmed that the pending case against Bolma Star Services remains sealed in federal court, and is still under "active investigation."
Homeland Security is said to have confiscated servers, boxes filled with documents, and several computers from Bolma Star Services, leading many to wonder where this case will lead.
"That is going to expose a whole bunch of innocent people," Doogan said to ABC11. "There's a big question about how the government will honor people's privacy. People have the right to their privacy and they should not be convicted or set up for moral judgment for adult activity."
While Doogan is correct, adults are allowed to view pornography or sex live streams if they choose to but were left under the impression that this case involves <i>much more than just legal pornography</i>, if <i>sealed indictments</i> are being publicly acknowledged.
ABC 11 reports:
<blockquote>”A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security would not confirm the reported connection between Bolma Star Services and Eros.com, but agents on scene told the I-Team the business was involved in "illicit" activity.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”While not confirming the exact nature of this investigation, agents DHS officials explained HSI agents are often assigned to cases involving alleged money laundering, trafficking, and cyber-sex crimes.”</blockquote>
It appears there is a much larger network of prostitution, if not human trafficking, that is being kept under wraps by the DOJ as part of a much larger conspiracy.
For now, ICE-HSI has been taken down Flawless Escorts, and the two Florida men responsible for running the crime syndicate, for what looks to be a major prostitution operation spanning the entire nation.
Both Martin and Lindo are facing one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and two counts of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted.
If you know of any child who may have been a victim of sexual exploitation, please call the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or visit the<a href="https://www.missingkids.com> NCMEC’s web site </a> where you can find assistance directly dependent upon the specific case you're interested in finding information for.
Members of the public who have information about child-sexual predators are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE tip line at 1-866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199.
<a href="https://www.ice.gov/webform/hsi-tip-form">They can also submit a tip over the internet by completing ICE’s online form by clicking here.</a>
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is also bringing down suspected child-sex offenders through Operation Predator.
You can also contact ICE via the Operation Predator application for mobile devices. ICE has created a smartphone app – the first of its kind in U.S. federal law enforcement – designed to seek the public's help with fugitive and unknown suspect child predators.
The iOS version of the app can be downloaded from<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/operation-predator/id695130859?mt=8"> Apple's App Store and iTunes</a>; the Android version is also available via<a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.java.ice"> Google Play Store</a>.
This brilliant work by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency’s Homeland Security Investigations division is expected to announce additional indictments in the coming weeks or months, now that we have a confirmation that other sealed indictments exist, in what could be part of a major trafficking syndicate.
Keep your eyes on this case, because there is far more than meets the eye occurring, with the potential to expand charges as the Eros raids lead to prosecutions.
Additional Sources or Relevant Information:
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