For several years, an Elizabeth man lured out-of-state escorts to New Jersey with promises of tens of thousands of dollars for sex and then choked, raped and threatened them, federal authorities charged.
FBI agents captured Jose Torres, 43, after finding four victims but suspected there were more.
They were right.
Two more travelled from New York to New Jersey to work for Torres as prostitutes, an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Newark this week says.
Torres met the escorts through websites such as EROS, Erotic Monkey, Tryst and Backpage, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Promising big money, he “persuaded, induced and enticed” them to come to New Jersey from other parts of the country and Canada, according to an FBI complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Newark.
Torres picked up most of the women at Newark Airport after they paid their own way, Carpenito said. He then drove them either to his home or to a motel.
One woman was promised $20,000 to $30,000 a month to fly to the United States from Canada at least twice a month to be Torres’s private escort, Carpenito said. She, like the others, never got paid.
Torres picked up the woman from Canada at the airport last October and took her to a hotel in East Brunswick according to the FBI complaint.
When she asked for payment, it says, Torres told the victim that he was a police officer, then “forced her to engage in rough sexual inter-course, which included slapping her in the face, choking her and calling her derogatory names.”
Torres convinced another woman to take a cab from New York City before he picked her up, drove her to his house and pretended to transfer money to her on his laptop, the FBI alleges.
After they’d had sex, the woman “became uncomfortable due to Torres's aggressive behavior and asked to leave,” the complaint says.
He refused, then slapped, choked and raped the woman, who complied out of fear for her life, it says. The next morning, she took a cab back to the city.
“During the investigation, law enforcement learned that Torres has victimized other commercial sex workers in a similar fashion,” the complaint says.
Torres remains in federal custody.
Meanwhile, federal authorities ask that you contact them if you or anyone you know has been victimized or solicited by him.
The victims may be in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts, as well as in New Hampshire, South Carolina and California, among other states, federal authorities said.
You can email: ReportJOT@fbi.gov.
“Your response is voluntary but would be useful in the federal investigation to identify you as a potential victim,” FBI officials said in a statement. “Based on the response provided, you may be contacted by the FBI and asked to provide additional information.”
Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI and special agents of the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations with the investigation leading to the charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Emma Spiro of his Violent Crimes Unit in Newark is handling the case.
ALSO SEE: An Elizabeth driver caught with a gun following a Little Ferry traffic stop told police it was because he’d been to Philadelphia and was “worried about what was currently happening there,” authorities said.
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