A federal grand jury in Portland, Ore., has indicted Taquarius “Cameron” Ford on additional charges of tampering with a witness and obstructing after allegedly threatening his co-defendant.
Federal prosecutors said Ford sent emails and called Konia “Laney” Prinster to try to persuade her not to testify against him. The communications took place on March 5, after she was taken into custody, and last year between May and July, during a time she was believed to have been in her native Ukraine.
Ford, 35, and Prinster, 26, were indicted last year on charges of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking and sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.
The new indictment, issued April 28, lists six victims allegedly lured into prostitution, three more than those listed in the original indictment in January 2014.
Two victims were lured from the Boise Towne Square mall by a man posing as a modeling executive searching for new talent. The man, later identified as Ford, never had any ties to a legitimate modeling agency, prosecutors said.
“Despite his prolific self-promotion as a modeling executive, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist, he is nothing more than a violent pimp who has lived off exploiting women his entire adult life,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacie Beckerman wrote in a court filing.
Ford pleaded not guilty to the new charges Tuesday in federal court in Portland. He and Prinster are scheduled to go to trial in September.
Here’s what prosecutors say happened:
One of the women, identified by her initials, T.H., said she met Ford and Prinster at the mall in 2011. Ford later flew her to Los Angeles, where he wined and dined her and took her to a party at the Playboy Mansion. The woman later flew to Portland for a “photo shoot.”
In one incident, Ford coerced the woman into having unwanted sex. When the woman protested, Ford grabbed her around the neck and raped her while calling her a “whore.” He and Prinster then threatened to harm her family if she didn’t go along with Ford’s plan to turn her into a prostitute.
The woman was rescued after a clerk at a hotel near Portland International Airport became suspicious that prostitution activities were taking place in one of the rooms. The clerk reported the incident to Port of Portland police, who investigated. Ford was arrested. The charges were later dropped.
Ford was arrested again after a grand jury indictment in January 2014. He lived in Los Angeles at the time.
The second victim, listed as “J.D.,” also met Ford at the Boise mall in September 2011, according to prosecutors. She was also lured with a modeling offer and later said that Ford’s real interest was to have her work as a prostitute.
The third victim in the original indictment was found at a shopping mall in Arizona.
It is not known whether any of the three new victims listed in the indictment came from Idaho. Prosecutors have not listed their hometowns and did not answer that question during an email exchange with the Idaho Statesman.
After seizing Ford’s laptop, federal investigators said they discovered a 38-page memoir titled “Denial of a Pimp,” in which he detailed his exploits and criticized two high-profile madams — Heidi Fleiss and Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam — for the greed that led to their downfalls.
In his writings, Ford criticized Palfrey for keeping notes on the johns her prostitutes saw, authorities said.
“How stupid was that,” Ford wrote. “That’s why I prefer to keep a small operation, stick and move so nobody knows what I do. Furthermore, this is why I’ve never liked to be catagorizing (sic) as a pimp!”
On his website, Ford described himself as an “Entrepreneur, Philanthropist & Financial Guru.” He told readers to set proper goals and become experts in their fields.
“I went from working as a janitor to exceeding and taking advantage of the right opportunity,” Ford wrote. “If a good opportunity presents itself, never be afraid to take advantage of it.
“Do remember, opportunity will knock and knock but if you don’t answer the door, you may just miss it. Make a great effort to become an opportunist.”