WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Deerfield Beach man is facing human trafficking and other charges after he lured women from throughout the country under false pretenses and then forced them into prostitution in South Florida, authorities said.
Robert Miner, 27, was arrested last week in Palm Beach County.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained Wednesday by Local 10 News, Miner intimidated and, in some instances, physically harmed women after luring them through an escort service that he operated called Candy Girls of Miami.
One woman claimed that "she was tricked into working as a prostitute for Miner," who collected all the money for himself.
Another woman told authorities that "she was raped at knifepoint by Miner and subsequently forced to perform acts of prostitution on his behalf."
Yet another woman said "Miner tricked her and manipulated her into working for him as a prostitute and required her to turn over all the proceeds of the commercial sex acts to him." She went on to describe how Miner "flew her to Las Vegas to be prostituted and directed her to get a tattoo of his name branded on to her arm."
"Several victims explained that Miner created a climate of fear, where the victim was spoken to in such a manner where she believed physical harm would come to her if she tried to disobey Miner," the affidavit said.
In one instance, Miner beat a woman into submission, she told authorities, recalling how Miner told her that "he had a gun and that if she tried anything dishonest with him, he would make sure something bad would happen to her."
Investigators determined that Miner was laundering the women's money, depositing their earnings into his bank accounts "to pay for his car, his residence, his utilities and other personal purchases."
The joint investigation between the FBI, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Broward Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement began in July 2016, when a 19-year-old woman told West Palm Beach police that she was recruited and tricked into prostitution by Miner. She said she had applied for a job as a dancer but was told by Miner that he only had openings for "companions."
Miner explained that his goal for her in his "program" was to earn $20,000 in a month as a companion so that she could use the money to buy a car and a condominium in South Florida, the affidavit said.
Miner picked her up and drove her to Broward County, where she began prostituting herself under his tutelage, she told authorities. Despite her reluctance, the woman continued to stay and work for Miner in the hopes that she would receive what was promised to her.
"In fact, she never received any of the money for her personal benefit, never received a residence, never received a car and was forced to live in hotels and work as a prostitute at Miner's direction," the affidavit said.
A 22-year-old woman told investigators a similar story. The woman said that she was recruited by Miner from Atlanta and told that she needed to complete a 30-day program in which the money earned would be used to help her buy a car and a home in South Florida. Instead, she engaged in acts of prostitution at a La Quinta hotel under Miner's direction and never received the money that she was promised, the woman told authorities.
Another 22-year-old woman called Fort Lauderdale police in June 2017, saying that she had just fled from a La Quinta hotel where she was forced into prostitution. The woman told investigators that she had traveled from Orlando after being offered a modeling job by Miner, who called himself "Jason." She said Miner raped her at knifepoint in a Best Western hotel in Dania Beach before forcing her to have sex with about 100 men there and at the nearby La Quinta over the next four days.
In another incident, an 18-year-old woman from Rochester, New York, traveled to South Florida in 2015 after answering an advertisement on Craigslist for an exotic dancer. She said Miner arranged for her travel and then told her that she would have to start as an escort.
"I'm a pimp, you're a ho, and you're going to be getting money," she said Miner told her.
The woman said Miner took her to a DoubleTree in West Palm Beach and trained her on how to be a prostitute. She said Miner referred to the money that she would be receiving as "donations" and forced her to have sex with so many "dirty dudes" that she would cry after each appointment. She said there were so many men because Miner "charged so little for the customers to have sex with her."
She told investigators that Miner eventually began a sexual relationship with her and started identifying her as his girlfriend. She said he asked her to get a tattoo of his first name on her, telling her that he "never trusted another girl as much as her" and that they were "destined" to be together.
Miner told her that he had "a lot of girls working from him" who came from as far away as Texas and Colorado, she told investigators. She said Miner recruited all of them through his websites.
A warrant for Miner's arrest was issued Oct. 17. He was booked into the main Palm Beach County jail Sunday on charges that include kidnapping, sexual assault, human trafficking and money laundering.
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