Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JUSTIN RIVERA, a/k/a “Denzel Rivera,” a/k/a “Bangout,” a/k/a “Jackie Chan,” was found guilty of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking on Friday, June 11, 2021, following an eight-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. RIVERA is scheduled to appear for sentencing before Judge Engelmayer on November 9, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As a unanimous jury swiftly determined, Justin Rivera conspired to force vulnerable victims into prostitution using cruel physical violence, threats of violence, the ruse of romantic relationships, and the exploitation of a victim’s severe heroin addiction. Rivera now faces life in prison for his reprehensible conduct.”
As reflected in the Indictment, public filings, and the evidence presented at trial:
In or about 2015, RIVERA and his co-conspirators used an abandoned house in Bohemia, New York (the “Bohemia House”), as a base of operations for sex trafficking of at least two adult victims. RIVERA and his co-conspirators recruited the victims through, among other means, false promises of romance, and forced the victims into continued prostitution by creating a climate of fear through violent beatings, sexual assaults, and multiple threats of gun violence directed at the victims and their family members.
On one instance, for example, RIVERA threatened with a gun the mother of a victim (“Victim-1”) who came to the Bohemia House in an attempt to rescue her daughter.
RIVERA also coerced a second victim (“Victim-2”), who was addicted to heroin, to engage in commercial sex acts on his behalf by manipulating Victim-2’s access to heroin. At times, for example, RIVERA provided Victim-2 with heroin to reward her for engaging in commercial sex acts for his benefit; at other times, RIVERA withheld heroin from Victim-2 as punishment unless she engaged in commercial sex acts at his direction and for his profit.
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RIVERA, age 31, of Amityville, New York, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding work of the Suffolk County Police Department, the FBI’s New York Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, and the Special Agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel H. Wolf, Thomas S. Burnett, and Negar Tekeei are in charge of the prosecution.
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