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July 25, 2018New York, NY, United StatesFinancial Crimes

ICE HSI's El Dorado Task Force investigation leads to money laundering charges against operators of nationwide prostitution enterprise

NEW YORK — Pursuant to an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) led El Dorado Task Force, two Florida men were arrested Tuesday for money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with their ownership and operation of Flawless Escorts, a nationwide business offering prostitution services, as well as the seizure of Flawless Escorts’ website.  Brandon Martin, 42, and Tameko Lindo, 32, of Parkland, Florida were presented Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale federal court.

“In just under four years, these defendants are alleged to have secured more than three thousand hotel bookings to use in the furtherance of their prostitution scheme,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York. “In this case, members of HSI’s El Dorado Task Force were able to follow the money, tracking the advertising funds, payments and movement of dollars to locate the perpetrators, and they now face prosecutions for their actions.”

“As alleged, Brandon Martin and Tameko Lindo ran a nationwide prostitution ring, requiring their ‘employees’ to service as many as seven clients a day. However, the fatal flaw in Martin and Lindo’s alleged scheme was their underestimation of law enforcement’s ability to detect and halt their illicit activities,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey S. Berman.

According to the allegations in the complaint sworn out in Manhattan federal court, from 2014 to the present, Martin and Lindo have operated an online prostitution service through their website, (the “Website”). As part of their prosecution business, Martin and Lindo arranged for escorts to travel throughout the United States to engage in prostitution, securing more than 3,000 hotel bookings under the names of various women. Martin and Lindo also required escorts to follow certain protocols when traveling on behalf of the Website, including an expectation that each escort would see a minimum of seven clients per day. Martin and Lindo also required escorts to deposit the proceeds of their commercial sex acts into a number of corporate and personal bank accounts that they controlled.

Martin and Lindo then used the proceeds of the prostitution scheme for personal gain and to further their illegal prostitution business. They paid, for example, over $180,000 from bank accounts under their control to advertise for the Website and to pay expenses of individual escorts.

Martin and Lindo are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and two counts of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

This case is being handled by the SDNY’s General Crimes Unit. The charge contained in the complaint is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The El Dorado Task Force is headquartered at the HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Office and at other locations in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area. Task force agents educate the private financial sector to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities and promote anti-money laundering legislation through training and other outreach programs. Prosecutors use a full range of criminal and civil laws to prosecute targets and forfeit the proceeds of their illicit activity. Since its inception, the Task Force has branched out to address all financial crimes – evolving into the largest, most successful financial crimes task force in the world.