A porn actor and producer who recruited young women under false pretenses to appear in videos for San Diego-based website GirlsDoPorn.com was sentenced Monday to 20 years in custody in connection with his pleas to federal sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges.
Ruben Andre Garcia was among six people charged with filming pornographic scenes that prosecutors said were made under coercive and fraudulent circumstances.
Garcia and his co-defendants lied to victims by claiming the videos would only be distributed to private customers living outside of the country rather than proliferated online, despite always intending to post the videos on the internet, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino heard from around 20 victims during a lengthy sentencing hearing.
“This defendant lured one victim after another with fake modeling ads, false promises and deceptive front companies, ultimately devolving to threats to coerce these women into making sex videos," Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said. "Even when victims told Garcia how the scheme had devastated their lives, he showed no regard for their well-being. The crime was utterly callous in nature and there is no excuse or justification for his conduct, which was driven purely by greed. The harm inflicted by this defendant will last a lifetime for his victims. Hopefully today’s sentence will offer them a sense of justice."
The 20-year sentence exceeds the 151-month term sought by prosecutors in their sentencing memorandum, as well as the seven-year term sought by Garcia's attorney. Co-defendants Valorie Moser, who worked for GirlsDoPorn as a bookkeeper, and Theodore Wilfred Gyi, a cameraman, have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
The site's co-creator, Michael James Pratt, remains at large, with a reward of up to $50,000 available for information leading to his arrest.
Prosecutors say the defendants took steps to conceal from the victims that they had any connection to GirlsDoPorn, including by providing the women with contracts that identified their companies under "innocuous names, such as
If the women ever changed their minds about filming or completing the scenes, the defendants threatened to sue them, cancel their flights home or post footage that had already been filmed online, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Other victims were physically prevented from leaving the San Diego hotel rooms or short-term rental units where the scenes were filmed, often with defendants barricading the doors with cameras or recording equipment, prosecutors said.
Once the women discovered their videos were posted online, the website owners ignored requests to take the videos down and cut contact with the women altogether.
Click here to watch the full "STOLEN" series.
- If you or someone you know could be a victim of sex trafficking or exploitation, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text the words "BeFree" or 233733
- If you have a question or story tip for the STOLEN team, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org