A Miami Beach man is facing life in prison after he was convicted of luring foreign students to the United States by promising them jobs then using them in a prostitution enterprise.
Jeffrey Jason Cooper, 46, was found guilty Thursday of 11 counts including sex trafficking and attempted sex trafficking by fraud, wire fraud, importation of persons for prostitution or immoral purposes and use of a facility of interstate commerce to operate a prostitution enterprise.
A jury returned the verdict in federal court after a four-day trial.
Authorities said Cooper recruited female students from Kazakhstan through the State Department's Summer Work Travel Program. Cooper promised false jobs in a fake yoga studio but when the victims got to Miami Beach, investigators said they were advertised for his prostitution and erotic massage enterprise.
The students were advertised to customers from June 2011 until they were recovered by law enforcement in August 2011, authorities said.
"Jeffrey Cooper used deception to lure unsuspecting foreign university students across the globe, only to be exploited for the defendant's own personal profit,"U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida said in a statement Friday. "The U.S. Attorney’s Office is fully committed to our international efforts to combat human trafficking - whether by fraud, force or otherwise."
Cooper faces a maximum of life in prison and a fine of up to $2.75 million at sentencing, scheduled for Feb. 16, 2017.