ELIZABETH, NJ - A federal grand jury on Friday indicted an Elizabeth, New Jersey, man for persuading, inducing and enticing numerous female victims to travel in interstate or foreign commerce to engage in prostitution and other sexual acts, often by use of force, violence and threats, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Jose Torres, 42, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was charged in a superseding indictment with four counts of coercion and enticement. Torres was originally charged in February 2020 with two counts of coercing and enticing and on May 29, 2020, he was indicted on a third count involving another victim. Today’s indictment adds a fourth victim. Torres will be arraigned at a later date.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From May 2015 to October 2019, Torres persuaded, induced and enticed female victims, often commercial sex workers, to travel from various out of state locations, including Canada, New York, and Pennsylvania, in order to engage in prostitution with him. In each instance, Torres lured a female victim to New Jersey with promises of large payments. In three of the charged instances, when the victim asked for payment, Torres became aggressive, often assaulting and raping her. Torres never paid the women for their services.
The two most recently charged counts allege that in December 2015, Torres lured Victim-4 to travel from Pennsylvania to New Jersey on promises of large sums of payment. In May 2018 Torres lured Victim-3 to travel from New York City to New Jersey on promises of large sums of payment. Once Victim-3 arrived, she began to feel uncomfortable. Torres threatened Victim-3, telling her it was in her best interest to remain in the hotel room. Victim-3 remained in the room and Torres then forced her to engage in unwanted sexual activity, including having sexual intercourse without a condom.
The coercion and enticement charges each carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Joe Denahan in Newark; special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason Molina in Newark; and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone, with the investigation leading to today’s superseding indictment.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emma Spiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations in the superseding indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.