A man who lured victims to prostitution by claiming to be a modeling executive was sentenced to 33 years in prison in a Portland courtroom Monday.
Taquarius Kaream Ford, 38, was indicted by a federal grand jury in January 2014. He was convicted on charges including conspiracy to commit sex trafficking through fraud, violence and coercion in December 2016.
The Department of Justice reported Ford recruited young women at suburban shopping malls across the U.S. by posing as a modeling executive and promising modeling contracts.
Investigators said Ford would convince the women to travel to Los Angeles, where they would be “wined and dined,” only to be told if they wanted to be models, they had to first work for him as prostitutes.
Investigators said in one case, Ford raped an 18-year-old and threatened to harm her family. That woman was rescued at a hotel by the Portland International Airport by Port of Portland Police officers, according to the Department of Justice.
The FBI reported Ford and a co-conspirator trafficked women in Oregon and across the country, with additional victims identified in Idaho, Arizona and Georgia.
Konia Prinster previously pleaded guilty in November 2016 to the charge of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in this case and was scheduled to be sentenced next month. Her charges were dismissed, however, as part of a government motion following her testimony during Ford's trial.
Ford was sentenced to 33 years and four months in prison, along with a lifetime of supervised release Monday.
Federal prosecutors had sought a 55-year prison sentence for Ford.
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