SAN JOSE – Damari William Singleton was sentenced today to 210 months (17.5 years) in prison and ordered to pay restitution to child victims of his sex trafficking scheme, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Beth L. Freeman, U.S. District Judge.
On January 22, 2019, Singleton, 29, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of children. According to the plea agreement, from December of 2014 thorough early 2016, Singleton, along with various co-conspirators, operated a prostitution business throughout the state of California. Singleton sold the commercial sexual services of underage girls and adult women. Using primarily social media websites, Singleton repeatedly recruited and exploited girls and women from troubled homes with histories of sexual abuse. Singleton arranged for the recruited women and girls to serve as prostitutes for his sex trafficking venture, transporting them throughout the state of California and across state borders to provide sexual services to adult customers. Specifically, Singleton corresponded with potential clients for the girls and women, posted advertisements for their sexual services on “backpage.com,” transported them to and from their prostitution dates, and secured apartments, condominiums, and hotel rooms for use during the prostitution dates. He also provided condoms and lubricant, set rates for specific services, and collected the profits made by the girls and women after their prostitution dates.
As described in the government’s sentencing memorandum, in approximately May of 2019, three months after Singleton pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of children, the government became aware of Singleton’s intention to establish and operate another sex trafficking enterprise. Singleton was in custody and awaiting sentencing in this case. The government began collecting and reviewing Singleton’s jail calls. These calls revealed that from February 2019 to July 2019, Singleton attempted to recruit young female inmates straight from jails throughout California and Nevada to work as prostitutes after they were released. Singleton repeatedly emphasized to his out-of-custody accomplices the importance of picking up the women directly from jail so that they would not have any opportunity to escape his influence. He wanted them “straight from the gates, straight into my house.”
Singleton deliberately targeted young women between the ages of 18 and 25. While in custody, he sent public records requests to several sheriff’s offices and detention facilities throughout California and Nevada, including Fresno County, Placer County, Sacramento County, and Washoe County in Nevada, seeking biographical information on young female inmates, including their photographs, bail amounts, and projected release dates. On the calls, he emphasized that his prime targets were the most vulnerable: foster kids, former drug addicts, and women who had nowhere else to go. Singleton stated that he was “gonna get an empire.”
A federal grand jury indicted Singleton on December 15, 2016, charging him with conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; sex trafficking of children, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591; transportation of minors for transportation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2423; and coercion and enticement, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422. On January 22, 2019, Singleton pleaded guilty to the sex trafficking of children charge.
In addition to the prison term and restitution to his child victims, Judge Freeman also ordered Singleton to a seven-year term of supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marissa Harris is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Tong Zhang. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI and the San Jose Police Department with assistance from agencies belonging to the Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Task Force. Several local police agencies including the Santa Clara Police Department and the Sunnyvale Police Department assisted with recovery of the minor victims.
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