Superseding Indictment Returned for Sacramento Madam
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 11, 2013|
SACRAMENTO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today that a federal grand jury returned an eight-count superseding indictment charging Shanntaye Ebony Hicks, 23, of Sacramento, California, with three counts of sex trafficking of a minor; one count of sex trafficking using force; two counts of transportation of a minor; one count of production of child pornography; and one count of obstruction of justice.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional task force composed of FBI special agents and Sacramento Police officers and Sheriff’s deputies and Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon, who is prosecuting the case. Assistance during the investigation was also provided by the Bakersfield Police Department and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
The indictment alleges that between March 3, 2013 and May 9, 2013, Hicks recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, and maintained three minor female victims knowing that means of force, threats of force, fraud, and coercion, would be used to cause the minors to engage in a commercial sex act and knowing that they were minors and would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act. The indictment also alleges that on March 19, 2013, Hicks made a sexually explicit video with one of the minor victims and that on March 20, 2013 and March 23, 2013, she took this minor victim to Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, respectively, with the intent that the minor engage in prostitution. The indictment also alleges that between January 1, 2013 and March 23, 2013, Hicks used force to cause an adult female to engage in prostitution. Finally, the indictment alleges that on May 20, 2013, Hicks acted to obstruct justice by instructing another person to destroy an SD card that was relevant to the ongoing investigation and prosecution.
The maximum statutory penalty for sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking using force is no less than 10 years’ imprisonment and up to life imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and a lifetime period of supervised release. The maximum sentence for production of child pornography is no less than 15 years and up to 30 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and a five-year term of supervised release. The maximum sentence for obstruction of justice is up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and a three-year term of supervised release. The actual sentence, if convicted, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This prosecution is part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing Project Safe Childhood initiative which was launched to increase federal prosecutions of sexual predators of children, and to reduce the number of Internet crimes against children including child pornography trafficking. As a part of PSC, the United States Attorney’s Office has teamed with state and local agencies and organizations to increase law enforcement presence on the Internet, and to educate the public about safe Internet use, thereby reducing the risk that children might fall prey to online sexual predators. For additional information on the PSC initiative, please go to www.justice.gov/psc or call the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and ask to speak with the PSC coordinator.