Two people from St. Paul were sentenced this week in a federal sex trafficking conspiracy case.
Andrew Hertzog, 30, received 10 years in prison and eight years of supervised release Tuesday for his role in the conspiracy, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Nicole Bramer, 29, was sentenced to 21 months with five years of supervised release. Each defendant was also ordered to pay $6,100 in restitution.
“The defendants preyed upon vulnerable young women by a variety of deplorable means,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting those who sexually exploit vulnerable women for financial benefit.”
Hertzog and Bramer pleaded guilty last summer. During his plea hearing, Hertzog admitted that, from April 2011 to August 2012, he and Bramer engaged in a scheme to target and recruit vulnerable young women and to compel them into performing commercial sex acts for financial gain.
They used coercive tactics, including physical violence and psychological coercion, to isolate the young women, control them and cause them to perform acts of prostitution. As part of the trafficking scheme, the defendants transported the victims across state lines for the purpose of having them engage in prostitution, and the defendants routinely advertised the sexual services of the young women on the Internet website Backpage.com.
“Working with victims of sex trafficking to attain a measure of justice is a serious responsibility,” said special agent Christopher Warrener, who is in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis office. “These sentences are the culmination of investigators and prosecutors effectively communicating with victims.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted jointly by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Kappelhoff for the District of Minnesota, trial attorney Christine Siscaretti and former trial attorney Amanda Gregory for the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.