Minnesota Man and Woman Sentenced for Participating in a Sex Trafficking Conspiracy
|U.S. Department of Justice February 11, 2014|
Today, the Justice Department announced that Andre James Hertzog, 29, was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and eight years of supervised release for participating in a sex trafficking conspiracy. Hertzog’s co-defendant, Nicole Bramer, 29, was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. In addition, the defendants were each ordered to pay $6,100 in restitution to the victims of the offense. Hertzog and Bramer are both from St. Paul, Minnesota.
“The defendants preyed upon vulnerable young women by a variety of deplorable means,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting those who sexually exploit vulnerable women for financial benefit.”
“Working with victims of sex trafficking to attain a measure of justice is a serious responsibility,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher Warrener for the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office. “These sentences are the culmination of investigators and prosecutors effectively communicating with victims.”
Bramer pleaded guilty to participating in the sex trafficking conspiracy on May 29, 2013, and Hertzog pleaded guilty on July 2, 2013. During his plea hearing, Hertzog admitted that, from April 2011 to August 2012, he and Bramer engaged in a scheme to target and recruit young, vulnerable women, one of whom was a minor, and to compel them into performing commercial sex acts for their own financial gain. Hertzog and Bramer used coercive tactics, including physical violence and psychological coercion, to isolate the young women, control them, and cause them to perform acts of prostitution. As part of the trafficking scheme, the defendants transported the victims across state lines for the purpose of having them engage in prostitution, and the defendants routinely advertised the sexual services of the young women on the Internet website Backpage.com.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted jointly by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Kappelhoff for the District of Minnesota, Trial Attorney Christine M. Siscaretti, and former Trial Attorney Amanda Gregory for the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.