An Amityville man is facing up to life in prison following his conviction in Manhattan federal court for conspiring to commit sex trafficking after he and co-conspirators used an abandoned Bohemia house as a base for their criminal enterprise, prosecutors said Monday.
A jury on Friday delivered a guilty verdict for Justin Rivera, 31, after an eight-day trial, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Court records show the trial followed a 15-count indictment in 2019 that charged 11 people in connection with what prosecutors described as a sex trafficking conspiracy that also took place in the Southern District, which includes Manhattan and the Bronx.
The law firm that represented Rivera didn’t immediately respond to inquiries Monday afternoon.
Prosecutors said Rivera and his co-conspirators used the Bohemia property in 2015 while sex trafficking at least two adult victims. They also said Rivera threatened the mother of one of the victims with a gun when she came to the house to try to rescue her daughter.
The sex traffickers recruited the victims with false promises of romance and forced them into continued prostitution with beatings, sexual assaults and threats of gun violence, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Prosecutors said Rivera, who also has been known as "Denzel Rivera," "Bangout," and "Jackie Chan," coerced one of the victims, a heroin addict, into commercial sex acts by manipulating her access to the drug.
Federal court records show Rivera was serving a five-year sentence in a New York prison for a firearms offense following a 2017 sentencing when he was transferred into a federal lockup in connection with the sex trafficking conspiracy case. He has convictions for attempted robbery and attempted criminal possession of a weapon, according to federal officials.
A federal judge scheduled Rivera’s sentencing for November.