A federal judge sentenced Miguel A. Hernandez, 50, of Miami Beach, Florida, to 10 years in prison for operating a highly
The prostitutes were foreign nationals and Miami-area residents, officials said.
Hernandez pleaded guilty in federal court on May 11, 2016, to four counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to promote an unlawful activity and four counts of importing and attempting to import an alien for prostitution purposes.
According to the evidence, Hernandez began operating a highly profitable prostitution enterprise known as “International Playmates” from a hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2010.
Hernandez and others, including his brother and co-defendant, Eduardo Hernandez, recruited many of the women who worked for him from other countries, including Spain, Colombia, Venezuela and other Central and Latin American countries.
To facilitate the operation, Hernandez and his associates reserved and paid for plane tickets for foreign nationals to enter the United States, completed immigration paperwork, coached foreign nationals on what to say to customs officials when entering the United States and picked foreign nationals up at the airport, officials said.
Hernandez openly advertised his business on the Internet and deposited the cash proceeds into multiple bank accounts.
As part of Hernandez’s enterprise, he engaged numerous individuals in the scheme, including overseas recruiters to identify more women; drivers to transport women to dates with prostitution clients; a website technician to advertise the enterprise’s services; various female associates to help manage the enterprise; and Eduardo Hernandez to aid in operation of the scheme.
The evidence indicated that Hernandez used physical force on at least two occasions against two different women, both Spanish nationals, and prostituted at least three minors, according to authorities.
“Human trafficking is one of the most despicable crimes we investigate,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Selby of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations or HSI in Miami. “HSI is committed to stopping the exploitation of those who are powerless to defend themselves, and bringing to justice those who would wantonly disregard these victims’ dignity for their own personal enrichment. We will continue to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to make sure that individuals involved in this crime are brought to justice.”
Hernandez was previously convicted and sentenced to confinement in Spain for immigration fraud offenses in violation of Spanish law, but fled to the United States before serving his sentence, officials said.
Eduardo Hernandez plead guilty for his role in the enterprise on May 3, 2016, and was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment last week.
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