DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – A South Florida man is facing federal sex trafficking charges after he recruited girls from mostly foster homes into a life of prostitution, promising them fancy cars, designer clothes and lavish lifestyles, so that he could profit from their earnings that he used to open a fashionwear company and a not-for-profit foster care corporation, according to a criminal complaint.
William Foster is alleged to be the leader of an intricate sex trafficking organization based in South Florida.
The FBI began its investigation in February 2017, when two women reported being recruited into Foster's organization as teenagers about 10 years earlier.
A third woman came forward in September, claiming she traveled from Fort Lauderdale with several of Foster's girls to engage in sex at various strip clubs in the Detroit area.
FBI Special Agent Kelly Cavey laid out the allegations in a 16-page federal criminal complaint, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach.
The first woman said she was the victim of sex trafficking by Foster as a teen and then as an adult from about November 2007 through May 2010.
"Victim 1 reported that, during this time period, she was moved across state lines for purposes of prostitution, which was conducted as part of a criminal group led by Foster," the complaint said. "Because Victim 1 was a minor, Foster arranged for Victim 1 to obtain a false identification. Victim 1 stated that she engaged in sex with Foster on numerous occasions, beginning when she was a minor."
The woman claimed she was recruited by Foster out of high school while in foster care.
"Victim 1 further reported that, while employed by Foster, he told her that the best places to recruit minors and young women were from group homes, shelters and exotic dance venues, including low-end venues where the young women may have violent pimps, because minors and young women at those locations were vulnerable and in need of help," the complaint said.
The second woman told the FBI she was recruited into Foster's organization when she was 17 years old and engaged in prostitution through 2011. She also claimed she was forced to move out of state and have sex with Foster on more than one occasion.
In 2004, the woman "was kidnapped by a violent pimp who forced her to work at Gold Rush" in Miami, she told the FBI. While working for the pimp, she was brought to the champagne room and introduced to Foster.
"Foster recruited Victim 2, describing the females in his organization as exotic dancers who owned a business with him and who drove nice cars and had wonderful wardrobes," the complaint said. "Foster told Victim 2 that if she wanted to live with him, she would have to become his girlfriend."
VICTIMS 1 AND 2
Both women told the FBI that, at any given time, five to 15 girls lived with and worked for Foster "as prostitutes and/or sex trafficking victims."
They said Foster "used displays of a fun and wealthy lifestyle as a way to recruit new females."
"Victim 2 reported that while she resided with Foster, the females working for Foster drove high-end cars, including a Ferrari, Escalade, Mercedes and a Corvette," the complaint said.
The women also claimed that Foster "made physical appearance a priority among the females."
"Victim 2 reported that females were placed on a 'lemon diet' and Foster arranged and funded cosmetic surgery for the women," including breast enhancements, buttocks injections, plastic surgery and rib removals, according to the complaint.
"Foster advised the females that he viewed the cosmetic procedures as investments," the complaint said.
Both women said Foster groomed the females. Victim 1 claimed Foster even taught them how to target wealthy men at strip clubs throughout South Florida.
"Additionally, the females would meet new prostitution clients through individuals known to Foster and would attend yacht parties and dinners for wealthy clients," the complaint said.
Both women explained how the females working for Foster "collectively made thousands of dollars each night from prostitution and exotic dancing."
However, the females were not allowed to keep the money, the women told the FBI.
"Instead, each night, the females would return to Foster's residence and immediately hand over any cash earned to one of Foster's 'main girls,'" often in the presence of Foster, the complaint said.
Both women claimed Foster told them their earnings "were being invested on their behalf into businesses for their early retirement," but when they finally left Foster's organization, they never collected any of their earnings, the complaint said.
When Victim 1 tried to leave initially, "Foster would tell her that if she left, she would have no stake in the businesses that he had 'invested' her earnings into," she told the FBI.
One of Foster's business investments was a clothing line called Bad Girlz Fashion Inc.
According to the Florida Division of Corporations, the business was incorporated in 2003 and listed Foster as its vice president and director.
Foster's parents were also listed on the corporate records.
The company, which listed a home at 12746 NE Fourth Ave. in North Miami as its principal address, dissolved in 2012.
'DECEIT, MANIPULATION AND FEAR OF PHYSICAL HARM'
"Victim 1 reported that Foster also tracked the movements of the women in his organization by monitoring emails, contacts, social media and online search history of the females in the house," the complaint said. "On one occasion, Foster explained to Victim 1 that he did so because he wanted to know if a female was planning to leave or run away, was stealing or pocketing money, had a boyfriend or was lying to him."
She went on to say that she had to text or call Foster whenever she left a strip club with a client. She did the same whenever she was finished.
"Victim 1 further explained that she communicated with Foster because he wanted to know how much she was earning per hour from the prostitution clients she was meeting with outside the exotic dance venues, what services she was providing to those clients and whether drugs were provided to the clients," the complaint said.
On certain occasions, Foster made both women put him on speakerphone so he could hear what was happening, they told the FBI.
"Victim 1 and Victim 2 further reported that Foster used deceit, manipulation and fear of physical harm to cajole women and minor females to engage in commercial sex for the benefit of Foster's organization," the complaint said.
Victim 1 eventually left the organization in 2010 and, true to Foster's word, "was not provided with any of her earnings," according to the complaint.
By the time Victim 2 left the organization in 2011, she was one of Foster's main girls and had access to the finances, but she didn't take any money "for fear of what physical harm he may cause her."
"Victim 1 and Victim 2 advised that the females who worked for Foster also traveled to various locations outside of the state, including Nevada and New York, in order to have commercial sex," the complaint said.
Both women said Foster directed where the females would travel.
Victim 1 said Foster told her and six other women, including Victim 2, to move to the New York area for work, believing that they would make more money at the strip clubs there.
Eventually, Victim 2 moved out of South Florida in 2011, the same year he and several other females returned from New Jersey.
Victim 2 said she last saw Foster in December 2016, when Foster told her he was moving with the females to Las Vegas.
The FBI used bank, business and travel records, along with social media posts, to confirm that Foster's organization returned to South Florida in late 2017 or early 2018.
The third woman tied to Foster's sex trafficking ring called the National Human Trafficking Hotline in September, asking to be rescued from a hotel in Romulus, Michigan.
Victim 3 said she flew to Detroit from Fort Lauderdale two days earlier with two girls who worked for Foster's network. They were sharing the hotel with four other girls who had traveled to Michigan a week earlier.
"While in Michigan, Victim 3 reported that the other six females were engaging in commercial sex at various exotic dance venues in the Detroit area at the direction of Foster," the complaint said. "Victim 3 reported that she was being pressured to engage in commercial sex by Foster and his organization and she did not want to do so."
Victim 3 said she had wanted to leave but was told she couldn't because the girls "had not yet met the group's 'financial goal,' which they had to meet before returning to Florida."
The woman, who is a recovering heroin addict, explained how she met one of Foster's main girls at a Broward County nightclub in August. She said they exchanged numbers and got together at a Hallandale Beach strip club about a week later. It was during their meeting when she was introduced to Foster.
"Victim 3 informed Main Girl 2 and Foster of her current living situation, which she described as dysfunctional," the complaint said. "In response, Main Girl 2 and Foster advised Victim 3 that she should leave and move in with them. Foster told Victim 3 that he would help her get back on her feet."
Main Girl 2 drove the woman to a home on Angler Drive in Delray Beach. Soon after, Foster picked up the woman and drove her to his home on Sherwood Forest Drive, where they had sex.
The next morning, Foster and Main Girl 2 told the woman she needed to go on the lemon juice diet and lose weight if she wanted to get the cosmetic surgeries that Foster would provide.
Victim 3 said the females living on Angler Drive had high-end designer clothes, shoes and handbags, including Versace, Fendi and Gucci.
"Additionally, Victim 3 observed luxury vehicles parked at the Angler residence and driven by females of Foster's organization," the complaint said.
She said one of Foster's main girls, referred to in the complaint as Main Girl 1, and three other girls were living there.
FROM DELRAY BEACH TO DETROIT
Foster told Victim 3 that the females worked at various strip clubs and "pooled their money to invest in businesses." She said Foster told her he was trying to open his own club.
As Hurricane Dorian was threatening South Florida in September, Foster told Victim 3 and the six girls they wouldn't be able to make any money and needed to go to Detroit, the complaint said.
"Victim 3 further reported that two vehicles belonging to the females within the organization were shipped to Detroit from Florida," the complaint said.
The woman said she reluctantly traveled to Detroit, believing that she would only be working as an exotic dancer. However, once she got there, Foster told her she would have to have sex with clients for money, she told the FBI.
"Victim 3 overheard a conversation between Foster and one of the members of Foster's organization in which Foster directed the females not to allow Victim 3 to leave Detroit until she earned enough money to reimburse the cost for the flight, hotel and expenses," the complaint said.
During the course of the investigation, authorities discovered that Foster was listed as the president of a not-for-profit organization called Foster's Care.
The FBI said Main Girl 1 served as chief financial officer and Main Girl 2 served as vice president.
Even though Foster's Care was dissolved in 2015, a website for the organization was created on or about July 26.
"The telephone number listed as the contact information on the website is the telephone number associated with, and utilized by, Foster," the complaint said.
On its website, Foster's Care purports to provide free services, "to include housing, therapy, medical treatment and job training to victims of sex trafficking."
The website discusses its program, Changing Accepted Realities Effectively (CARE), defining it as "a comprehensive restoration program for victims of human sex trafficking."
Under the "Contact Us" section of the website is a question: "Are you a victim of the sex trade?" Below it, in smaller font, poses a solution: "Contact us now."
Law enforcement identified three Delray Beach homes associated with Foster's organization, executing search warrants on all of them Wednesday.
During a search of the home on Franwood Drive, "law enforcement found multiple bins of clothing consistent with exotic dancing, as well as the notepad law enforcement had viewed in the hotel room in Romulus, Michigan, depicting a handwritten thermometer gauge chart with a listed goal of approximately $60,000."
At the Angler Drive home, authorities found two large boxes of condoms, along with numerous designer goods like purses and shoes, "consistent with the reporting of Victim 3," according to the FBI.
A search of the Sherwood Forest Drive home uncovered a money counter machine, luxury goods and a safe, the complaint said.
"Foster admitted that he had paid somebody to set up the Foster's Care website on his behalf," the FBI said.