SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA – A pimp in Southern California, known by the moniker “Classified,” who recruited approximately 20 women and girls through a social media website and advertised their services as prostitutes in an online publication, was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for sex trafficking of a child by force, fraud or coercion.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Friday that Lawrence T. Gunn, Jr., 33, of Woodland Hills, who was previously convicted for similar conduct, was sentenced by United States District Judge David O. Carter.
According to court documents, Gunn forced his victims into prostitution through physical and verbal abuse and tattooed his moniker “Classified” on their bodies including on the faces of some of his victims who he recruited on Facebook. He branded his victims with the tattoo to permanently mark his sex workers as his own. Gunn admitted that he used force, threats of force, fraud and/or coercion to cause the victims to engage in commercial sex acts between May 2015 and late February 2016. He then took all of the money the victims collected from customers.
Gunn physically struck the women if they attempted to keep any of the money or if they tried to leave, breaking a young victim’s nose on one occasion. Gunn also admitted that he threatened to kill one 16-year-old victim, who he had tattooed “Classified” over her right eye, if she tried to leave him.
The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking investigation in late 2016 found that advertisement’s for commercial sex acts were placed on various social media sites including Backpage.com and that Gunn had about a dozen women and girls working for him. One of the victims had posted hundreds of ads for sex services in states as far away as Alaska and Minnesota, according to court documents. Several victims told law enforcement authorities that Gunn took all of the money they collected from customers, including more than $17,000 that Gunn caused the victim to wire to him over the course of three months.
Once he completes his 15-year prison term, Gunn will be required to register as a sex offender.
This case was investigated by the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes representatives from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. The Moreno Valley Police Department, the San Bernardino County Sherriff’s Office, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department assisted in the investigation.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tritia L. Yuen of the Riverside Branch Office.