SEATTLE, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A Washington state man convicted of forcing or manipulating young women into selling their bodies for sex has been sentenced to 26 years in federal prison.
Jerome Todd, 29, of Everett denied being a pimp and said the witnesses at his trial lied, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
"I've pretty much been a scapegoat," he told U.S. District Judge James Robart at his hearing Monday. "Your honor, I'm a people person. I'm very open. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Your honor, I ask that you impose a minimum sentence."
But federal prosecutors said Robart preyed on women who were still living at home. They said he spent their earnings as prostitutes on luxury cars and jewelry, including one item in the shape of a dollar sign covered with diamonds.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ye-Ting Woo said in a sentencing memo that one 19-year-old was "was initially charmed by the defendant and his expressions of intimacy and devotion."
"The defendant persuaded her to quit her job and to finance their life through her work as a prostitute. Shortly afterward, however, the defendant began verbally abusing ... and physically hitting her when she complained," Woo wrote.