For Immediate Release - December 19, 2012

Dorchester Man Arrested in Connection with Running Human Trafficking, Prostitution Operation in Greater Boston Area

BOSTON – A Dorchester man has been arrested in connection with running a human trafficking and prostitution operation in the Greater Boston area, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

Michael Leoney, 49, of Dorchester was arrested in Boston last night without incident by State Police assigned to the AG’s Office and officers from the Boston Police Department.  Leoney is charged with Trafficking of Persons for Sexual Servitude and Deriving Support from a Prostitute.

Leoney is due to be arraigned this morning in Dorchester District Court.

“We allege that this individual arranged for multiple women to provide sexual services and kept the profit from those arrangements,” said AG Coakley.  “Today’s arrest is part of our ongoing commitment to target human traffickers who exploit and abuse others for their own profit.” 

“We will continue to target those individuals who prey on others for financial gain,” said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. “This case illustrates, that working with our law enforcement partners we will be relentless in our pursuit to bring these criminals to justice.”

The AG’s Office began an investigation in April 2012 after the matter was referred by the Boston Police Department Human Trafficking Unit.  The joint investigation determined that Leoney allegedly ran the operation, coordinated the recruitment of women into prostitution, and managed the financial aspects of the organization. Leoney allegedly advertised sexual services on websites known to advertise prostitution and arranged for these encounters either at the homes of “johns” or at hotels in the Greater Boston area. According to investigators, Leoney typically received the full profits from these sexual encounters.

State Police officers assigned to the AG’s Office and officers from the Boston Police Department executed search warrants at Leoney’s residence and on cars registered to Leoney. Following the execution of the search warrants, Leoney was arrested. He is due to be arraigned this morning in Dorchester District Court.

These arrests are part of the AG’s third human trafficking case under the new human trafficking law in Massachusetts, which went into effect on February 19. In March, AG Coakley’s Office arrested and arraigned four individuals charged in connection with running a sophisticated human trafficking operation in and around the Boston area. In October, the AG’s Office arrested and arraigned three operators of so-called massage parlors in Wellesley and Revere in connection with human trafficking and prostitution.

The investigation remains ongoing. These charges are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Deb Bercovitch, who handles human trafficking prosecutions within the AG’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division, with assistance from Investigator Mark Pulley of AG Coakley’s Financial Investigations Division. Victim Witness Advocate Nikki Antonnucci of the AG’s Victim Services Division is also assisting in the case. The investigation was conducted by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, investigators from AG Coakley’s Computer Forensics Lab, and investigators from The Boston Police Department.

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