SEATTLE — A 51-year-old man was convicted of 17 felonies in federal court Monday for forcing girls and young women to engage in prostitution after enticing them to travel to Seattle on the promise of a starring role in a fake HBO documentary, U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes said.
David Delay, who lives in the Seattle area, was convicted after a 10-day trial in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
According to evidence presented in court, including the testimony of seven victims, Hayes said, the defendant targeted vulnerable teenagers and young women in their early 20s on the internet, enticing them to travel to Seattle with false promises of a starring role in a purported HBO documentary that he claimed to be producing and filming.
In order to convince the victims that his assertions were true, Delay sent them falsified bank account screenshots supposedly depicting the profits of his other films, a photograph of himself outside of an HBO office, and seemingly official, binding contracts that he asked them to sign, Hayes said.
An HBO representative testified that the company did not have any business dealings with Delay.
Once the victims arrived in Seattle, Hayes said, the defendant coerced them to engage in prostitution for his profit.
“He manipulated them emotionally and psychologically, isolated them, established their complete dependency on him, and in some instances threatened legal action, falsely claiming that the victims had violated the terms of their contracts and were subject to civil lawsuits.,” Hayes said in a news release.
“In furtherance of his sex trafficking scheme, the defendant also enticed two minor victims to produce graphic pornographic photographs and videos for him, and in one instance threatened to release sexually explicit video images of a victim unless she complied with his demands,” Hayes said.
“This defendant preyed on vulnerable teenagers and young women, exploiting them for his own profit and sexual gratification, with no regard for their humanity,” said Acting Attorney General John Gore.
A jury found Delay guilty on the following counts: conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking through force, fraud, and coercion; three counts of sex trafficking adults through force, fraud, and coercion; two counts of attempted sex trafficking of a juvenile through force, fraud, and coercion; one count of attempted sex trafficking through force, fraud, and coercion; conspiracy to transport females for prostitution and six counts of transporting individual victims for prostitution; two counts of production of child pornography; and one count of obstruction of and interference with a sex trafficking investigation.
Delay’s sentencing has been scheduled for February 2. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.