CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Valentino Shine, Sr., 52, of Buffalo, NY, who was convicted following a jury trial of five counts of sex trafficking, and one count each of sex trafficking conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy, using and maintaining a drug-involved premises, and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. He was also ordered to pay $73,600 to the victims of his crimes.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth R. Moellering and Meghan A. Tokash, who prosecuted the case, with support from the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, stated that the defendant ran a sex trafficking operation out of his Humboldt Parkway residence in Buffalo. Shine preyed upon and exploited women who were vulnerable and addicted to drugs, coercing them to engage in commercial sex acts. The defendant provided or withheld drugs to coerce the victims to engage in commercial sex acts.
According to evidence presented by the government at trial, Shine was recovering from a cocaine addiction and knew the power that drug addiction could have over someone. The defendant used this as a weapon to target vulnerable women. Shine’s motto was “BABI PAE” – Break a (expletive) Incorporated; Pimping Ain’t Easy.
At the urging of the defendant, victims advertised on backpage.com. After performing sex acts for money, they would give that money to Shine. Money was important to Shine. When signing his name, the defendant wrote CREAM: “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.”
In addition to using drugs to control his victims, Shine also used physical beatings, manipulation, and brainwashing.
Three women who worked for the defendant died of drug overdoses as a result of their addictions.
“The defendant’s campaign to dehumanize the victims he ensnared was reprehensible,” noted U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Through manipulation, brainwashing, and torture, the defendant cashed-in by robbing—and then selling—the dignity of a number of young, often vulnerable, women in our community. Hopefully, this prosecution and the lengthy prison sentence imposed will give Mr. Shine—and others like him—plenty of time to reflect on my Office’s unwavering commitment to the value and worth inherent in the lives of all those who live in our District.”
“The successful criminal prosecution of Valentino Shine highlights the brutality with which sex traffickers treat their victims and the lack of regard they have for human life,” said Kevin Kelly, Special Agent-in-Charge of HSI Buffalo. “This sentence should serve as a stark warning to all individuals and criminal groups involved that traffickers will be held accountable and brought to justice. Additionally, HSI will ensure the survivors get the help they need.”
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly, and the Human Trafficking Task Force of the Western District of New York.
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