Miguel A. Hernández, a Spanish resident of Miami Beach, has pleaded guilty to charges related to the operation of an escort service from a hotel in Fort Lauderdale, according to a Justice Department statement.
Hernández pleaded guilty last Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami federal court to charges linked to prostitution, including bringing foreign women into the country to work as prostitutes, according to the statement.
Hernández began operating a “highly profitable” business known as International Playmates from a hotel in Fort Lauderdale in 2010, according to court records in the case.
Hernández and others, including his brother and co-defendant, Eduardo Hernández, recruited women from several countries including Spain, Colombia and Venezuela, to work as prostitutes in South Florida, according to court documents.
“To facilitate the operation, Hernández and his associates paid for plane tickets and assisted foreign nationals with immigration paperwork.
Eduardo Hernández pleaded guilty for his role in the enterprise on May 3. Miguel Hernández had previously been convicted and sentenced to six years in prison in Spain for immigration fraud, but fled to the United States before serving his sentence.
Miguel Hernández is scheduled to be sentenced July 13. He faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in the penitentiary and a fine of up to $2 million.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), along with personnel from the Diplomatic Security Service.