Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; and Franklin C. Adderly, Chief of Police, Ft. Lauderdale Police Department, announced that Van Lawson Williams, 49, of Ft. Lauderdale, was arrested on charges of sex trafficking of minors, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1591(a)(1). Williams made his initial appearance today in federal court in Ft. Lauderdale before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer and will have a bond hearing on May 24, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Williams met minor females, many of them runaways, in his neighborhood and invited them to stay with him at his Ft. Lauderdale residence, promising them food and shelter. Williams would then convince the girls to work as prostitutes. Williams would allegedly charge the prostitution customers a fee for “renting” one of his bedrooms and would collect all the money the customers paid to have sex with the minor females. The complaint also alleges that Williams provided the girls with illegal narcotics, including marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, the FBI-led Minor Vice Task Force, and the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Corey Steinberg and Scott Behnke.
A complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.