California man who allegedly trafficked women through multiple states using force, fraud, and coercion arrested and indicted in Seattle
Rented luxury apartments where women were forced to engage in prostitution for his benefit
News Release from U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington, Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Seattle – A 30-year-old California man who allegedly forced women into prostitution using assaults, threats, and manipulation was arrested in Seattle last week on a grand jury indictment, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Brandon Denzel Washington appeared today, in U.S. District Court in Seattle, and was ordered detained pending trial. Washington is charged with four federal felonies related to human trafficking. He has pleaded “Not Guilty,” and trial is currently scheduled for July 2023.
According to the indictment, Washington is charged with two counts of Sex Trafficking through Force, Fraud, and Coercion. Count One charges the forced trafficking of an adult female in Seattle from 2014 to 2020. Count Three charges Sex Trafficking through Force, Fraud, and Coercion for a second victim in Seattle from 2017 to 2019. In each case, Washington transported the victims to engage in prostitution. The transportation is charged in Counts Two and Four. One victim was transported from California to Washington State and elsewhere to engage in commercial sex acts. The second victim was transported from Washington to Hawaii and elsewhere to engage in commercial sex acts.
The sex trafficking scheme was first uncovered when a retired Bellevue Police Officer working security noticed a high number of men visiting a Bellevue luxury apartment building over a period of just a few weeks. The investigation took off from there with law enforcement investigators analyzing financial records, travel records, ads for commercial sex posted in online forums, and social media posts to identify victims of Washington’s sex trafficking activities and to gather evidence of the offenses. Washington uses the name “Bentley” online and allegedly had women under his control tattoo the emblem of the luxury car company on their bodies to show his ownership.
According to records filed in the case, two different women have provided law enforcement with detailed accounts of the brutal assaults Washington used to keep the victims in his control and earning money for him through commercial sex acts. Washington is alleged to have trafficked multiple women through California, Washington, Nevada, Hawaii, Florida, New York, and other states. Evidence in the case reveals Washington allegedly forced one victim to sign a “contract” in blood spelling out that she had to earn $200,000 per year for him and “submit completely to him” – even asking permission to leave the house.
Washington’s social media posts indicate he remains active in human trafficking bragging about his luxury residences, vehicles, and wealth.
Sex trafficking through force, fraud and coercion is punishable by a mandatory minimum 15 years in prison. Transporting a victim for prostitution is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erin H. Becker.