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Woman Charged In Westchester With Sex Trafficking Of A Minor

White Plains Federal Court.
White Plains Federal Court. Photo Credit: File

A 43-year-old woman was arrested for the sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl in Putnam County and charged in White Plains Federal Court on Tuesday.

Jennifer Coviello "coerced a child to engage in commercial sex acts for Coviello’s profit, introducing the minor to illegal drugs, and fostering a drug dependency in the process," said Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Earlier this month, Coviello posted online advertisements soliciting prostitution customers for herself and the teen victim, Kim said, adding that when Coviello received inquiries in response to the advertisements, she emailed and sent by text message photographs of the victim, including nude and partially nude photographs.

For approximately a week, Coviello operated her commercial sex business out of a motel in Putnam County, where she arranged for customers to meet her and the teen victim to engage in commercial sex acts in exchange for cash, according to Kim.

During that week, Coviello provided the teen victim with illegal drugs, including heroin, and arranged for the victim to misrepresent to customers that she was over 18 years old. Coviello kept the bulk of the profits from the commercial sex acts.

Coviello charged with one count of sex trafficking of a minor, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison; and one count of use of interstate facilities to promote a prostitution enterprise, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force with the assistance of the Putnam County Sherriff’s Department.

Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the Putnam Sherriff’s Department.

“My office is grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI for their diligent work in helping to put an end to this deplorable case, stopping the victimization of a young woman and bringing the perpetrator to justice," Putnam County Sheriff Don Smith said. "This case is yet another example of how effective law enforcement can be when local agencies, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office all work together to fight crime and to help keep Putnam County and the Hudson Valley safe.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “There are simply no words to express how despicable human behavior can be at times, and in law enforcement we see a lot of lows in human behavior.

"But for a woman to allegedly sell an underage girl for sex is too much to understand. The FBI agents and law enforcement officers who investigate these cases each day should be truly commended for their work, and their dedication to save these children from adults who put them in harm’s way just to make a dollar.”

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