Crime

‘Modeling agent’ who lured 3 Idaho teens into prostitution given prison sentence

Taquarius Ford, seated in a Bentley Motors car, used photos of him surrounded by luxury and Hollywood celebrities to convince people that he ran a successful Beverly Hills advertising agency. It was just a ploy to lure unwitting victims into prostitution.
Taquarius Ford, seated in a Bentley Motors car, used photos of him surrounded by luxury and Hollywood celebrities to convince people that he ran a successful Beverly Hills advertising agency. It was just a ploy to lure unwitting victims into prostitution. Photo from Taquarius Ford website

A man who approached a 17-year-old girl at the Boise Towne Square mall in 2011 and offered her a modeling contract but instead turned her into a prostitute was sentenced Monday in Portland to 33 years in prison.

Taquarius Ford, 38, was earlier convicted in U.S. District Court of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking through force, fraud or coercion and obstruction of justice.

Ford told Judge Marco Hernandez that he didn’t force or coerce any of the women into becoming prostitutes. He denied the claims of women who said he raped them and said others were involved in sex or drug trades before he met them, the Oregonian reported.

He did admit pandering and promoting prostitution.

Ford was charged with crimes involving six women, three of them from Idaho. Prosecutors told the judge that Ford victimized about 40 women as he traveled the country posing as a Beverly Hills modeling executive. He used photos taken with Hollywood celebrities and took them to parties to make it appear he ran a legitimate business.

One Boise teen was rescued after a clerk at a hotel near Portland International Airport became suspicious that prostitution was taking place in one of the rooms. He notified police, which began a two-year investigation into Ford’s activities.

Prosecutors said Ford forced the women into prostitution between 2007 and 2013. The other victims were from Oregon and Arizona.

One Idaho teen accompanied Ford to a party at the Playboy Mansion after he flew her to Los Angeles. He then coerced her into having unwanted sex, prosecutors said. A second Idaho victim said Ford took her to a party at Paris Hilton’s house, where she met the celebrity.

Co-defendant Konia Prinster, 29, pleaded guilty a year ago to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. She testified against Ford and is scheduled to have her charges dismissed after she performed 100 hours of community service and complied with a year’s supervision.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @JohnWSowell

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