Sex trafficking ring leader sentenced to 60 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $14 million in restitution | USAO-SDFL
MIAMI — A Federal District judge in Southern Florida sentenced William D. Foster, 50, to 60 years in prison for running a sex trafficking organization for more than 20 years that exploited dozens of vulnerable women and girls . The judge also entered a $3.4 million forfeiture judgment against Foster and ordered him to pay more than $14 million in restitution to his victims.
At any one time, up to 15 women and girls lived and worked with Foster. Through manipulation, lies, and threats, Foster coerced his victims into working in exotic South Florida dance clubs and into the sex trade. Foster told the victims he would invest their earnings so they could retire in their twenties, which was not true. Foster forced the victims to work eight hours a day, six days a week, every week of the year and kept all their money.
He used psychological coercion and violence to keep victims in line. If a victim wanted to buy things like food, clothing, or personal hygiene products, they first had to get permission from Foster. He instructed many victims to go on a liquid diet, undergo dangerous weight loss surgeries, and take anti-anxiety and antipsychotic drugs without proper diagnosis. Foster often had sex with victims, some of whom were underage.
If a victim attempted to leave, Foster would threaten financial ruin and other harm. If a victim left, they left with nothing.
Foster has expanded its operations beyond South Florida. He transported victims to other states, including New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Nevada, for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.
Law enforcement officers picked up one of Foster’s victims from a Detroit hotel room after calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Foster attempted to expand his business by launching a website (Foster’s Care) that promised to help victims of human trafficking. His plan, however, was not to save anyone, but to lure them into his sex trade.
Foster pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking; sex trafficking of a minor; sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud and coercion; five counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; two counts of sex trafficking by fraud and coercion; conspiracy to transport persons for prostitution; two counts of transporting people for prostitution and a money laundering conspiracy.
Two of Foster’s co-conspirators – Ashleigh Holloway, 37, and Hanah Chan, 32 – pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Florida to bank fraud charges in connection with the operation. They are to be sentenced on October 11.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Robert M. DeWitt, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami; and Anthony Salisbury, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office announced the sentence handed down yesterday by U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal.
The FBI Miami and HSI Miami investigated the matter. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica Kahn Obenauf and Brooke Elise Latta. Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Stone is handling the asset forfeiture aspects of the case.
To report a suspected case of human trafficking or to obtain resources for victims, please call 1-888-373-7888; text “BeFree” (233733), or live chat at HumanTraffickingHotline.org. Toll-free telephone, SMS lines and online chat function are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Help is available in English, Spanish, Creole or over 200 additional languages. The National Hotline is not operated by law enforcement, immigration or any investigative agency. Correspondence with the national hotline is confidential and you can ask for help or report a tip anonymously. To learn more about the hotline, visit www.humantraffickinghotline.org.
To learn more about the US Department of Justice’s efforts to combat human trafficking, visit www.justice.gov/humantrafficking.
Court documents and related information can be found on the District Court for the Southern District of Florida website at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.govunder file number 19-cr-20804.