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Press Release

Jan. 12, 2018

Pimp sentenced to life for trafficking 15-year-old girl

Booking Photo: Jeremiah Banks

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A 34-year-old pimp from Hemet was sentenced Thursday to 30 years to life in prison for trafficking a 15-year-old girl in San Bernardino.

Jeremiah Banks was convicted in Dec. 2017 of one count of Human Trafficking of a Minor for a Sex Act by Force, one count of Pimping a Minor Under 16 Years of Age and one count of Pandering By Procuring a Minor Under Age 16.

In Aug. 2014, the defendant befriended the victim—referred to as Jane Doe for confidentiality reasons—and invited her to his apartment to hang out, to which she agreed. After being given beer and marijuana, the defendant, who was 30 years old at the time, took Jane Doe to the bedroom where they had sex.

Banks, who also goes by the name “Penguin,” later told Jane Doe that he was a pimp, and started talking to her about prostituting for him.

Within a few days, the defendant drove Jane Doe to his sister’s apartment in San Bernardino. He gave her a cell phone and directed her to take provocative images of herself. Jane Doe complied, and those images were used in online prostitution advertisements posted on Backpage.com.

Officers from the San Bernardino Police Department found the advertisements of Jane Doe on Backpage.com posted in July 2014.

According to Deputy District Attorney Tamara Ross, who prosecuted the case, Jane Doe testified that the defendant taught her how to create prostitution ads herself, directed her on how to speak to potential customers and what to charge, drove her to meet customers, and directed her to give him all of her earnings, which she did.

“The victim testified that the defendant could quickly become violent,” said Ross. “He hit her with his fist and a belt whenever she ‘messed up a date.’ The violence occurred almost every other day.”

 

Contact: Christopher Lee, Public Affairs Officer (909) 382-3665 or via email at clee@sbcda.org or via text at (909) 782-5559

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It is the mission of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office to represent the interests of the people in the criminal justice system, as mandated by California State law. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office serves the residents of San Bernardino County by: seeking the truth, protecting the innocent; holding the guilty accountable; preserving the dignity of victims and their families; and, ensuring that justice is done while always maintaining the highest ethical standards.

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