November 17, 2016
Case # 15NF3354
LOS ANGELES MAN CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON FOR ATTEMPTING TO PIMP AND PANDER MINOR ON SOCIAL MEDIA
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Los Angeles man was convicted and sentenced to three years in state prison today for attempting to pimp and pander an undercover police officer, whom he believed to be a minor, on a social media website. Michael Joseph Mata, 34, pleaded guilty to one felony count of attempted pimping of a minor and one felony count of pandering by procuring.
Circumstances of the Case
Mata is a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. With the rise in popularity of social media and ease of meeting people on the Internet, many pimps and human traffickers utilize a variety of social media to locate potential victims. Victims are often required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp.
Between Oct. 10, 2015, and Dec. 16, 2015, Mata used a social media website to contact an undercover officer, whom he believed to be a 17-year-old girl. The defendant tried to recruit the officer to perform commercial sex acts for his benefit. The defendant arranged to meet with the officer and was subsequently arrested by the Orange Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) at the arranged meeting spot.
Members of the OCHTTF and the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. This case was investigated by OCHTTF, a partnership between Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Costa Mesa Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, Irvine Police Department, Newport Beach Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Santa Ana Police Department, and community and non-profit partners.
Deputy District Attorney Bryan Clavecilla of the HEAT Unit prosecuted this case.
Proposition 35 and HEAT
To read more about California’s anti-human trafficking Proposition 35 and the OCDA’s Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEAT) Unit, please visit www.orangecountyda.org and select Human Trafficking Information from the Media Center drop down menu.