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June 15, 2021 - SAN DIEGO – Adult film performer and producer Ruben Andre Garcia was sentenced in federal court on Monday to 20 years in prison for conspiring with the owners of the adult websites US DOJGirlsDoPorn (GDP) and GirlsDoToys (GDT) to recruit young women to appear in sex videos for adult websites using force, fraud, and coercion.

From approximately 2013 to 2017, Garcia worked as a recruiter, producer, and actor for the GDP and GDT websites, which grossed millions of dollars during this time. Garcia pleaded guilty in December 2020, admitting that as part of a premeditated scheme, Garcia recruited victims to appear in sex videos for the websites by promising them that these videos would never be posted online, that the videos would never be released in the United States, and that no one who knew the women would ever find out about the videos. Throughout the scheme, Garcia knew these representations were false.  Garcia knew the videos were being posted on the fee-based websites, GDP and GDT, and excerpts were posted on free pornographic sites such as Pornhub.com, one of the most frequently viewed websites in the world receiving millions of views, to drive paying viewers to GDP and GDT.

Garcia admitted that he and co-defendant Michael Pratt were the lead recruiters for GDP and GDT.  Their target market was 18 to 20-year-old women. Garcia and Pratt created Craigslist advertisements, along with fake websites and email addresses consistent with the websites to cause their victims to believe that they were applying to work asclothed models. Only after the victims responded to the advertisements would Garcia and Pratt disclose that they were actually seeking women for pornographic video shoots. 

When victims expressed hesitation, Garcia directed other young women to contact the victims and falsely reassure them that the videos would not be posted online and that none of the victims’ friends, families, colleagues or classmates would find out. Young women were selected as references, because Garcia, Pratt and Matthew Wolfe believed the victims were more likely to believe other young women over Garcia or Pratt.  The references were paid a fee for each victim they attempted to recruit, with additional compensation for victims who agreed to film a video.   

Garcia and other members of the conspiracy took active steps to ensure the victims did not find out that he and the other members of the conspiracy operated GDP and GDT. Garcia knew that most of the young women they were recruiting would have never agreed to appear in a video if they knew that videos of their explicit sexual activity would be posted on the internet and marketed to their friends and family. 

Most of the videos created as a part of the conspiracy were shot at hotels or short-term rental units in the San Diego area. If one of the victims agreed to act in the pornographic video, Garcia and his co-conspirators promptly booked flights to San Diego within a day or two to limit the chances that the victim would change her mind.  After the victim arrived at the hotel or short-term rental unit, Garcia would continue to falsely assure them that the videos would not be posted online and that no one who knew the victims would see - or even know about - the videos. Victims were told that the contracts they were presented with simply said what the victims had already been told, including that the videos would not be posted online. Nowhere on the contract could the reader find a reference to “girlsdoporn,” “girlsdotoys” or pornography at all. The companies were instead identified with innocuous names, such as Bubblegum Casting. Victims were not provided a copy of the contracts that they signed. 

Before some of the video shoots, victims were offered alcohol or marijuana.  Victims who consumed alcohol or smoked marijuana were directed to make a recorded statement saying that they were not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol, even though they had just smoked marijuana or drank alcohol.

As a part of the conspiracy, Garcia and others would at times coerce victims into completing the videos once they were underway. Garcia and other co-conspirators threatened to sue the victims, cancel flights home, and post the videos online, if the victims did not complete the sex videos.  Hotel room doors were at times blocked by camera and recording equipment, and the victims felt powerless and unable to leave.

Victims were also misled about how long the video shoots lasted. Most were told the video production would take around 30 minutes, when in reality, they typically lasted for several hours.  The sex for the video shoots was rough and caused many victims pain, and in some cases bleeding.  Some victims asked to stop filming.  In response, Garcia and others told the victims that they had to continue and finish the videos. Victims were also often paid significantly less than originally promised with Garcia and others would citing a tattoo, a mole, or some other perceived “imperfection” to pay the victim less.

Once the videos were posted online many victims contacted Garcia and his co-conspirators seeking to get their videos taken off the websites. The victims’ calls were blocked or ignored.

“This defendant lured one victim after another with fake modeling ads, false promises and deceptive front companies, ultimately devolving to threats to coerce these women into making sex videos,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman.  “Even when victims told Garcia how the scheme had devastated their lives, he showed no regard for their well-being. The crime was utterly callous in nature and there is no excuse or justification for his conduct, which was driven purely by greed. The harm inflicted by this defendant will last a lifetime for his victims. Hopefully today’s sentence will offer them a sense of justice.” Grossman praised prosecutors Joseph Green, Alexandra Foster and Sabrina Feve; FBI Special Agents; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Unit for their excellent work on this case.

“Ruben Garcia chose to exploit and deceive these young women for his personal satisfaction and financial gain and today he was held accountable for those decisions,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner. “Today's sentence is the first in this case, however it is definitely not the last. I hope this sentence serves as a start to the healing process and brings some sense of justice for these young women, each with their whole life ahead of them.”

The next hearing in the ongoing case is June 25, 2020, at 2 p.m.

Any additional victims of the alleged crime are encouraged to call the San Diego FBI at 858-320-1800.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Michael James Pratt. Individuals with information about Pratt should contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.

DEFENDANTS                                            Case Number 19cr4488-JLS

Ruben Andre Garcia                                       Age:    31                    San Diego, CA

*Pleaded guilty to Counts 1 and 7, Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud and Coercion.

DEFENDANTS                                            Case Number 19cr4488-JLS                                    

Michael James Pratt                                       Age:     36                             Fugitive

Matthew Isaac Wolfe                                      Age     37                             San Diego, CA (pending trial)

Theodore Gyi                                                 Age:     42                             Rancho Aliso, CA (Pleaded guilty to Superseding Information charging Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud and Coercion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371)

Valorie Moser                                                 Age:    38                    San Diego, CA (Pleaded guilty to a Superseding Information charging Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud and Coercion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371)

Amberlyn Dee Nored                                     Age:    27                    San Diego, CA (pending trial)

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Count 1 (charging all defendants)

Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud and Coercion, 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a) and (b)(1)

Maximum Penalty:  Life in prison, $250,000 fine, and a special assessment of $5,000 under 18 U.S.C. § 3014.

Count 2 (Pratt)

Production of Child Pornography, 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a) and (e)

Minimum penalty: Fifteen years in prison; Maximum penalty: 30 years in custody, $250,000 fine, and a special assessment of $5,000 under 18 U.S.C. § 3014.

Count 3 (Pratt)

Sex Trafficking of a Minor by Force, Fraud and Coercion, 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a)(1) and (2)

Minimum penalty: Fifteen years in prison; Maximum penalty: life in custody, $250,000 fine, and a special assessment of $5,000 under 18 U.S.C. § 3014.

Counts 4 (Pratt, Wolfe, Garcia), 5 (Pratt, Garcia), 6 (Pratt, Wolfe, Garcia), 7 (Pratt, Garcia, Gyi), 8 (Pratt, Garcia, Gyi)

Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud and Coercion, 18 U.S.C. § 1594

Minimum penalty: Fifteen years in prison; Maximum penalty: life in custody, $250,000 fine, and a special assessment of $5,000 under 18 U.S.C. § 3014.

INVESTIGATING AGENCY

FBI

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Source: DOJ Release