International Sex Trafficker Sentenced To More Than 17 Years In Prison | USAO-MN

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the sentencing of MICHAEL MORRIS 66, to 208 months in prison for his role in operating a massive international sex trafficking organization that was responsible for coercing hundreds of Thai women to engage in commercial sex acts across the United States. MORRIS was sentenced by Senior Judge Donovan Frank in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Following a six-week trial, on December 12, 2018, a federal jury convicted MORRIS and four other defendants for their roles in operating the sex trafficking enterprise. Thirty-one defendants pleaded guilty prior to the 2018 trial. To date, 29 defendants have been sentenced.

“Sex trafficking continues to be a repugnant local, national, and international crime that preys on vulnerable populations,” said United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald. “This case demonstrates the dedication and relentlessness of law enforcement across multiple jurisdictions to bring those who commit these crimes to justice.”

As proven at trial, the sex trafficking organization coerced hundreds of women from Bangkok, Thailand, to engage in commercial sex acts in various cities across the United States, including Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, and Austin. The trafficking victims were forced to participate in the criminal scheme through misleading promises of a better life in the United States and the ability to provide money to their families in Thailand. Once in the United States, the victims were sent to houses of prostitution, including the three that MORRIS ran in southern California, where they were forced to have sex with strangers – every day –having sex with up to ten men a day. The victims were isolated from the outside world, and their families in Thailand were threatened.

As proven at trial, the organization also engaged in widespread visa fraud to facilitate the international transportation of the victims and engaged in rampant and sophisticated money laundering in order to promote and conceal illegal profits. During the extensive investigation, law enforcement traced tens of millions of dollars to the organization. 

Multiple agencies assisted in this investigation over the past five years including: Homeland Security Investigations; the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS; the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section; the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit; the St. Paul Police Department; the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force; the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office; the Cook County (Illinois) Sheriff’s Office; the State Department Diplomatic Security Service; and the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2). United States Attorney MacDonald also thanks the Thai Community Development Center for the support and advocacy they have done on behalf of the victims of this sex trafficking organization.

Assistant United States Attorneys Melinda Williams, Laura Provinzino, and Craig Baune are prosecuting the case.

This case is filed as United States v. Michael Morris, et al., 17-cr-107 (DWF/TNL) and United States v. Sumalee Intarathong, et al., 16-cr-257 (DWF/TNL).

Defendant Information:

MICHAEL J. MORRIS, 66

a/k/a “Bill”

Seal Beach, Calif.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, 1 count
  • Sex trafficking by use of force, fraud, and coercion, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to engage in money laundering, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to use a communication facility to promote prostitution, 1 count

 

Sentenced:

  • 208 months in prison
  • 5 years supervised release
  • $750,000 in restitution

 

 

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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

 

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